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Antipasto Pasta Salad
January 01, 2007

UPDATE: I DECIDED TO GIVE THIS A SECOND GO, ALMOST 5 YEARS AFTER I INTIALLY IT. :) IT WAS MUCH BETTER THIS TIME AROUND. HERE'S WHAT I DID: A) USED CHEESE-FILLED TORTELLINI (I THINK I'LL GO BACK TO USING ROTINI THO...), B) OMMITTED THE FRESH PEPPERS FOR CHOPPED ROASTED RED PEPPERS, C) ADDED HALF OF A THINLY SLICED RED ONION, D) USED ASIAGO THIS TIME AND E) SUBBED A MARINATED GREEN OLIVE & ARTICHOKE DELI SALAD FOR THE BLACK OLIVES CALLED FOR. ALTHOUGH MORE EXPENSIVE, IT WAS DIVINE!!! This was "OK." Although my friend liked this more than I did, she wasn't all that impressed either. NOTE: This makes a LOT (I halved everything and still ended up with a TON!) and unfortunately, doesn't lend itself well to leftovers (my salad dried up quickly - despite covering my bowl, I needed to add additional vinaigrette the next day). This is also very expensive to prepare (the meat and cheese are pricey), but for a special splurge, I think the $'s spent are well worth it. To speed pre, I subbed small grape tomatoes for whole ones. I also omitted the red bell pepper and subbed tri-colored rotini pasta for shells (both personal preferences). Because Asiago cheese was so pricey, I opted for a less expensive (fresh) mozzarella instead. I found that using a GOOD quality olive oil and balsamic for the vinaigrette REALLY makes all the difference, so PLEASE don't skimp on those. All in all, this was decent, but I will need to make several changes if I were to make it again. Thanks anyways, Dayna! :-)

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