This past week, we have been invited to backyard BBQs by two neighbors - one of which was actually a kids swim party BBQ, and the other was my in-laws, who happen to live across the field, who had us over for the 4th of July.
Somehow, I managed to (completely by chance, of course) make the same pasta salad to take to each dinner. Realistically, it made no difference, we were the only ones to attend both events, so I didn't have to worry about anyone thinking my recipe rotation was beginning to run thin. I did have to worry about our darling boys whining, "That pasta, Again?!" when dinner was served at my in-laws, though... thank goodness, that never happened!
Why make the same dish? I dunno... maybe it was because I happened to have everything on hand. Maybe because once I made it the first time, it was all I could think of the next. Maybe just because it's darn yummy and I didn't want anything else! :)
This amazing - You'll Make It For Every Neighborhood BBQ Pasta Salad (haha!) - is super easy, and calls for the following...
1-1 lb. box of your favorite pasta - I like the bow-tie pasta this week, next week it may be colored tortellini, who knows.
5 green onions, sliced thin
12 oz artichoke hearts, sliced thin
15 oz. cherry tomatoes, whole
1-6 oz. can small olives, whole - Thanks to Lindsay Olives for these Fabulous California beauties!
A handful of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Your favorite Italian dressing
To make: Cook the pasta according to package instructions. When the pasta is al' dente, drain it and pour into a large bowl. Toss with 2 cups of the Italian dressing. This will keep your pasta from sticking together, and the pasta will absorb the dressing - Yum!
Slice the green onions and artichoke hearts and add to the bowl. Rinse the tomatoes and olives, add to the bowl. Add the Parmigiano cheese and toss gently. Add more dressing as needed then cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.
I have modified this recipe from time to time, depending on what I have on hand and what sounds good. It's also great with 2 chicken breasts, peppered and cooked in olive oil, then diced into bite-size pieces. More dressing is needed with the chicken, as the chicken will suck up the juice.
Now I'd like to know - What's your favorite go-to BBQ side dish?