As summer slowly creeps to an end, I find myself on the receiving end of an increasing number of picnic invitations. And, as a good and thoughtful guest, I start thinking about what kind of dish I can contribute. It’s a tricky thing, picnic foods. Should I choose a hot plate, or something cold? Homemade (always) or store-bought (never)? Sweet or salty? Will 7 other people bring the same thing? It’s really way more difficult than it should be.
So, a few weeks ago, I decided that my contribution to a friendly game night would be a pasta salad. A safe choice, but something I knew I could have a little fun with. I hopped in the car, no recipe in mind, and headed to the grocery store. Before I could even realize it, I found myself mindlessly throwing myriad produce into my basket. Onions, sure. Peppers, definitely. Cherry tomatoes, why not. Cucumbers, heck yeah. Fresh mozzarella, absolutely. Some salami, alright.
Then came the dressing. Creamy or not? I threw open the door of my refrigerator and stared into its bleak contents. I didn’t have any salad dressing that could acceptably pass as a pasta salad dressing. I only had mayonnaise. Ding! Mayonnaise was all I needed. A little bit of Trader Joe’s organic mayo, some white vinegar and a sprinkle of Italian spices. Voila. The creamy Italian flavor perfectly complemented the mozzarella and salami.
Game night (and my pasta salad) turned out to be a huge success. A lovely gathering of wonderful friends – and pretty decent food – simply can’t be beat. Not to mention, Chinese lanterns and sparklers make any occasion a special one.
Ingredients: cooked tortellini, whatever the heck else you want
Directions: Mix together, enjoy. Simple as that.