I pack lunch most days, so I try to keep things interesting and mix it up. Usually it ends up being a salad (different ingredients every day)…reliable, but boring. Dan suggested I try pasta salad, so I cobbled one together for lunch today and it was such a nice change.
Shrimp & Penne Pasta Salad
- 6 medium size shrimp
- short pasta (I used Barilla PastaPlus penne) — any amount
- diced green bell pepper
- kalamata olives
- salad dressing (I used balsamic vinaigrette)
- garlic salt, white & black pepper
- pecorino romano (or any grated cheese)
Cook a random amount of pasta until al dente, then measure out desired amount (I used 3/4 cup cooked pasta) and rinse under cool water. (NOTE: don’t ever do this for pasta you’re mixing with a sauce & serving hot! Rinsing totally ruins it). Leftover pasta can just be put away — or you can make it all at once.
Steam or saute shrimp (I let mine thaw in a colander and then dropped them in the pasta water toward the last minute or so of cooking). Cut into small pieces.
In a bowl, combine cooked pasta, cut shrimp and all veggies. I made my veggies fairly small — not minced, but diced or a bit larger.
Add dressing and mix well, then add a large drizzle of EVOO, along with garlic salt, white pepper & black pepper. Other spices might be good too — garlic powder, cayenne, anything really.
After the entire thing is mixed together, you can grate some hard cheese over it. I grated Pecorino Romano from a block, but I think parmesan would work as well. I’d recommend grating it fresh if you can instead of getting it pre-grated…tastes better!