Antipasto Pasta Salad
Why This Recipe Works
We love the traditional antipasto platter served at Italian restaurants, chock-full of cured meats, cheese, and pickled vegetables. It’s a full-flavored and satisfying dish—and something that we thought would translate well to a hearty pasta salad.
We quickly decided that short, curly pasta was the best shape to use, as its curves held on to the salad’s other components, making for a more cohesive dish. Quickly rendering the meats in the microwave helped to keep this salad from becoming greasy. We used an increased ratio of vinegar to oil in the dressing—the sharp, acidic flavor cut the richness of the meats and cheese for a brighter-tasting salad. For well-seasoned pasta, we tossed the hot pasta with the dressing—hot pasta absorbs dressing better than cold pasta. Slicing the meat into thick strips meant that its hearty flavor wasn’t lost among the other ingredients. And grating the cheese, rather than cubing it, made for evenly distributed sharp flavor throughout the salad.