Chef's Pasta Salad

My kids always hang out with me in the kitchen, peeling and chopping vegetables and stirring roux. This pasta salad is one of their favorite recipes to make. It’s perfect for young cooks because it’s simple, totally delicious, and can be varied to their hearts’ content just by adding whatever is in the fridge. Toss the pasta salad with the dressing, then give them free rein to raid the fridge and finish off the salad with whatever they think would be tasty additions.

Dollars to Donuts: Comfort Food and Kitchen Wisdom from Route 66's Landmark Rock Cafe by Dawn Welch and Raquel Pelzel (Rodale Books); copyright 2009

Chef's Pasta Salad

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    Ingredients

    8 ounces farfalle (bow-tie) pasta Salt, for salad
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, for salad Freshly ground black pepper, for salad
    About 1 cup diced ham 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar or Swiss cheese 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    1 large tomato, diced 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
    1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1/2 teaspoon salt, for vinaigrette
    6 ounces salad greens 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for vinaigrette
    2 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped

    directions

    Prep: 5 min Total: 30 min (Quick)
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    • 1

      Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions or until it is al dente. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

    • 2

      While the pasta cooks, make the vinaigrette. Whisk the mustard, vinegar, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and set aside.

    • 3

      Add the vinaigrette to the pasta and toss to coat. Add the ham, cheese, tomato, parsley, and greens and toss to incorporate.

    • 4

      Transfer the pasta salad to a serving bowl, sprinkle the egg on top, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

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