Cuisine Quest: Chilled pasta, American style
In the five years I lived in Italy, I never saw pasta served cold, let along as the main ingredient in a salad. That's not the case here at home. Introduced around the 1900s, chilled pasta salads have evolved to include everything but the kitchen sink.
Reader Jessica Sims wrote in to ask for the recipe for macaroni and shrimp pasta salad from Meier's Catering Co. in Salt Lake City or the shrimp pasta salad recipe from Skool Lunch. The owner of Meier's didn't want to part with his recipe, so we did some research and came up with our own.
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Shrimp and pasta salad
2 cups small shell pasta
1 1/2 pounds cooked shrimp, cut into pieces
1 cup celery, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, skin removed and finely chopped
1/4 small yellow onion, grated
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
Freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Note: Finely sliced fresh fennel is also a refreshing addition to this salad.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil over high heat. Cook the pasta until just until al dente. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again.
In a large bowl, toss the cooled pasta with the shrimp, celery, red bell pepper and onion.
Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, if using, salt, pepper and paprika and mix until combined. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
Makes • 4-6 servings
Source: Adapted from oldbay.com