Momma’s Italian Pasta Salad

A Little Southern Funning and a Whole Lot of Good Eating

This post goes out to my Italian buddy Frank Fariello, fancy lawyer by day and fine cook by night up in the big city of Washington DC. I officially give him the title ‘il mio proffessor della cucina italiana’, catch up with him at Memorie di Angelina.

Now, to the best of my knowledge, our family does not have Italian connections whatsoever. Not one link of DNA. That does not mean Momma did not cook Italian. Heck yeah she did, well, as Italian as an Alabama born girl could I guess. Oh yeah Frank, we’re educated folks down here. We got these here magazines with recipes. Momma learned lots of things and turned them around using the fine delectables from the local Piggly Wiggly. She made a flavorful red sauce dish to go with her spinach meatballs, her ratatouille had a little country twist, pork chops smothered in tomatoes and basil is still my favorite, her succulent chicken in wine fell off the bones and a zabaglione that I never could pronounce. Yep, her Italian cooking was okay by me.

The thing about this salad is that it makes a big ol’ bowl and feeds a plenty of folks. It’s good for a large family gathering, a street party, a big city social or a barn-raising – pull it out whenever a large crowd comes a calling. Of course, you can easily half the recipe if desired.

You may not want to use the mayonnaise, that’s a southern thing, so are a few of the other ingredients, so Frank and the rest of you Northerners, use your favorite vinaigrette, dressing or seasoned olive oil and change up the seasonings to your liking. In fact, it's like many of our recipes, you can use what you like.

Now this salad may not be anything near Italian, in fact, the only thing it has going on is a few ingredients and the name, but to Momma and to us, it was good enough. Enjoy!

Momma’s Italian Pasta Salad

1 -16 oz small mini farfalle or ditali pasta
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced red onions
1 cup diced cauliflower
1 cup diced broccoli florets
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1 cup diced mild cheddar cheese
1 cup diced Swiss cheese (or feta)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup diced kosher dill pickles (or I like bread & butter)
1 cup diced salami
1/2 cup Calamata brined cured olives
1/2 teaspoon horseradish
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers -drained well
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
    Cook pasta al dente, rinse until cool and drain well. In a large bowl, add pasta and the next 11 ingredients. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Mix in the next 6 ingredients and carefully fold in the mayonnaise and roasted peppers. Chill another hour before serving.

    Note: I added a handful of cherry tomatoes. sliced plum tomatoes would be great too.


    1. Hey, Drick!

      Well, if your Mom made zabaglione, then I guess we'll just have to declare you an honorary Italian! ;)

      Salad looks great, mayo and all!

      Il Professore

      PS: Now one day you can explain to me what a "Piggly Wiggly" is...

    2. Yummm. Ya know, two of my favorite kinds of food (Latin and Italian) I have no relation to, either.

      Darn. Ain't that the way?! We'll survive somehow, Drick.

      But hey, Polish cuisine is pretty darn tasty ;-)

      PS. Lovin' this recipe.

    3. I love that this is packed with veggies. It sounds as though maybe there's at least one link of Italian DNA in you and your mum.

    4. It's a summer staple. We don't do cheddar - strictly Provolone or Asiago and Parmigiano-Reggiano - but this never fails to enchant! "You done good" - for a southern guy!

    5. That looks like awesomeness in a bowl... JUST my kind of dish. Great post, thanks!

    6. Love this recipe, Drick. Reminds me of many pasta salads I've enjoyed within our southern cuisine. We southerners do love our mayonnaise, don't we?? And, Frank, the Piggly Wiggly is something very exotic and unusual :-) I'm sure Drick will be happy to explain that one!

    7. Wow...that's a really long list of ingredients! The Italians must be proud of lots of ingredients in a dish :P I'm going a little dizzy...haha. But the dish looks absolutely healthy and delicious.....mmmm

    8. Now this is one salad I could go back for seconds, thirds.... and on! All the meat, cheese, and olives in this making me hungry!

      Bon appetit!

    9. Good job Drick. As a gen-u-ine Italian who cooks almost nothing but Indian food,welcome to la famiglia!

    10. Wow how filling its a whole meal loving this~!

    11. mama certainly knew how to cook Italian, a southern flair is just fine by me, and I do miss my piggly wiggly I haven't heard that name in oh so long!!! thanks for the memories and a great pasta salad!

    12. Drick, your momma knew what she was doing - no doubt about it!! I''m glad you got the seal of approval from il professore, lol!

    13. Very funny! I love yo momma's Italian salad! Sounds like a winner to me...mayo and all!

    14. The basil in that salad just pops with color. Italian or not, it's a tasty creation!!

    15. Too funny, isn't the Piggly Wiggly an Italian specialty food store??? Your momma's pasta salad sounds fairly authentic and definitely delicioso:-)

    16. Great presentation Drick. This is the kind of salad that disappears quickly when you serve a crowd. Lots of great veggies, cheese and mayo.

    17. Momma knew what she liked, italian or not, killer salad, I would also use mayo...piggly it!



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