Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad

It looks like Europe is coming apart at the seams (well, maybe just the Brits), the western half of the US is on fire, the eastern half is flooding, the experts are predicting a global stock market crash, the Presidential race and U.S. politics in general get weirder by the day, and apparently the Independence Day sequel sucks pretty badly. I believe we’re in desperate need of some good news, people  And I know you’re probably thinking I’m just the one to provide such a thing, but all I’ve got is some super delicious pasta salad.  But in desperate times, you take what you can get.

So in case you’re seeking the perfect side dish to serve alongside whatever you might be thinking of grilling this 4th of July, look no further.  The good news is that this salad is specifically designed to make you and your guests happy, and it may even be good enough to help you forget the craziness that is the world at the moment.

And really, what could be more American than pepperoni pizza?  Morphed into a pasta salad? Just American enough for a 4th of July barbecue in need of a delicious side show. And with that I wish you all a very happy and scrumptious 4th of July!  Here's the recipe...

P.S.  And then I inexplicably left the basil out of the photo, but don't forget to add it to your salad cuz it really is supposed to be in there.  Happy 4th!!

Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad

Click here for a printable recipe

1 lb pasta (rotini, corkscrew, cavatappi, etc.)

1/2 cup Italian dressing

1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (not grated crumbles or powder)

1 (5 oz) bag mini pepperoni slices (I chopped up some turkey pepperoni)

1 (3.8 oz) can sliced black olives

12 oz fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half

1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes or to taste

2 Tablespoons finely sliced fresh basil

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, pour pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water. Cool and transfer to a large bowl and gently toss pasta with Italian dressing. Add Parmesan cheese, pepperoni, olives, mozzarella, red pepper flakes and basil. Toss until all ingredients are fully combined.

Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.   Before serving, taste and toss with more Italian dressing if you think it needs it. 

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