Wonderful recipe -- the best pasta salad I've ever made. I agree with SL that the cup-like shape of the orecchiette causes it to stick together, which is a bit of a pain. But the orecchiette gives the salad such a unique texture -- and resists getting soggy so well that the salad remains good for several days -- that I am willing to painstakingly separate the orecchiette after it is cooked. Best of all, you can make this salad the day before you intend to use it. I've made this recipe at least 3 times now, and here are my notes and tweaks: 1. PASTA: Use the orecchiette and draft an unsuspecting family member to separate it after it's cooked. ; ) I use De Cecco brand orecchiette.2. SALAMI: For the salami, I first cut the round slices in half, and then cut the halves into thin strips about 1/4-inch or so wide. 3. OLIVES: Change 1/4 pound assorted deli olives to 1/2 pound. I rarely go to Whole Foods (a/k/a "Whole Paycheck"), with one exception: their fantastic olive bar, which I use for this recipe. Buy 1/2 pound of their Pitted Assorted Greek Olives -- and possibly incorporate a few of their Sicilian Olives for good measure. These olives are soooo good, and literally "make" this recipe. Whole Foods also sells the De Cecco brand orecchiette I use..4. PEPPERONCINI: Pepperoncini salad peppers are STRONG. I use the amount called for in the recipe, but julienne them into thin slivers so that the flavor is more evenly dispersed throughout the pasta. This way I have never had a complaint that the flavor is too strong.5. CUCUMBER: Use the WHOLE English cucumber -- seems a shame to waste half of it. It is not too much, and really adds a nice crunch to this salad.6. VINAIGRETTE: For the Greek vinaigrette with feta, I always use Ken's Steak House Greek with Feta Cheese, Black Olives & Imported Olive Oil. 7. TOMATOES: I nearly double the halved grape tomatoes. It seems a little sparse in such a large salad to only use 1 pint. If you can, use an assortment of colors. I like to use a colorful mix of grape and cherry tomatoes from my garden when they are in season.8. PARSLEY: Change 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.9. FETA: Change 4 oz. feta cheese to 6 oz. Hope you find these suggestions helpful; I find that these changes take an already-excellent recipe "over the top", and I really encourage you to try it!
Excellent flavor! Next time I'd make a few changes - the orecchiette stuck together while cooking so I'd use penne as the recipe suggests. And I'd be sure to cut all of the ingredients to the same general size. The pepperoncinis were way too large, as was the sausage. Overall, wonderful flavor that gets better with time. I used Trader Joe's Greek Feta dressing, which isn't a vinaigrette but still worked well.
Eat Well. Lose Weight. Live Healthy. Delicious and healthy recipes customized for you!