Soon after meeting my future in-laws, I brought this pasta salad to a get-together to share with Mike's family. Mike was quite apprehensive about this pasta salad I wanted to bring. Apparently he had NEVER had a pasta salad, and neither had anyone else in his family. He is weird.
My parents would make pasta salad all the time while I was growing up in NY. Heck, I even used to bring a container of this to Middle School every day for lunch - that's how much I love it! This has to be completely normal... right?
Well, I live in Virginia now, and things are a little different here than they are in NY. When his parents first tried this salad, they absolutely loved it, and asked me what was in it.
So I told them... "New York cheddar cheese...."
"What!? You're kidding, it's not really NY cheese is it?"
"Yes, it is. And... Northern Italian salad dressing..."
"It's not really called Northern dressing... you're joking with us..."
So I guess those are the only 2 northern/NY ingredients by name, but it still took quite a while to convince them the ingredients are actually called that and I wasn't just pulling their legs. Long story short, I'm now required to bring this pasta salad to every family function.
1 pound pasta, any shape, cooked according to directions and drained
1 small brick of NY Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 cucumber, sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 small package grape tomatoes, halved
1 small stick pepperoni, sliced or diced!
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasonings
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine the pasta, cheese, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes and pepperoni in a large bowl. Add about 3/4 of the salad dressing bottle, salt and pepper, red wine vinegar, Italian seasonings and garlic powder and stir to combine.
The salad usually tastes better after it stands for at least an hour to let the seasonings combine. Sometimes I make the salad the day before I serve it. If desired, stir the remaining salad dressing into the salad bowl to refresh the salad before serving.
Hope you enjoy my NY salad :)