Potlucks and picnics are upon us! This portable pear recipe adds a sweet twist to the perennial favorite: pasta salad. With a flavor-packed combination of just-ripe USA Pears complemented by salty salami, tart pickled peppers, fresh mozzarella, and crunchy cucumbers, it’s sure to surpass any pre-made offering you’d find at the deli counter. Plus, a lightened-up version of the classic creamy dressing, substituting Greek yogurt for mayonnaise, makes for a healthier summer feast.
Serves 8 to 10
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound dried short pasta, such as fusilli, rotini, or farfalle
2 firm but ripe red USA pears, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced
8 ounces bocconcini (bite-size fresh mozzarella balls)
4 ounces sliced salami, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sliced pickled red peppers
3 cups baby arugula
To make the dressing: In a blender, combine the olive oil, yogurt, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Stir in the oregano. The dressing will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
To assemble the salad: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool to room temperature; drain well.
Place the pasta, pears, cucumber, bocconcini, salami, and pickled peppers in a very large bowl. Pour in the dressing and toss to coat well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day. Toss in the arugula just before serving.
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