Sunday, September 14, 2008

#4_ Amy's Ziti Pasta Salad

We had small get- together dinner today at one of our daughter's place. Why did I say "small"? That's because there's only me, hubby, daughter Amy and her family and the host family, Angela, Brian and Benjamin. For the Johnson family, that's just a small group.

I made the Pistachio Salad. Angela and Brian prepared Deli Sandwiches using french breads filled with deli meats, cheeses, etc., then sliced across depending how thick you want it. So it was custom slices or you may say cut by design. Amy made her famous Pasta Salad, the recipe of which I'm going to post. Everybody must have been so hungry everything was gone!

Ingredients for the Pasta Salad:

1 lb. pkg. ziti pasta, cooked
6 slices bacon, cooked, chopped
3 small carrots, coarsely grated
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, minced

1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup miracle whip or mayo
2 TB white sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
2 TB bacon grease

1. In a large bowl mix the cooked pasta, the green pepper, onion, carrots and the bacon
2. In another bowl, mix the miracle whip or mayo, sugar, garlic salt and the bacon grease
3. combine together and chill in the fridge

To cook pasta AL DENTE:

You need about 5 qts water for a 1 lb of pasta and a large pot to accommodate this much water. Bring water to a rapid boil. Add 1 TB salt and 1 TB olive oil. Gradually add the pasta and cook for 14 minutes. Its a good idea to use a timer to avoid over cooking your pasta.

To check for doneness, take a piece of pasta and break it. (This is how I always test my pasta). If you you don't see any white spot, its perfectly done. Or you can always use your taste bud by taking a bite. When there's no more taste of raw flour and is biteable but not crunchy or rubbery, then the pasta has reached AL DENTE state.

Take pasta out and drain thoroughly in a large colander stirring occasionally so they won't stick together. According to some culinary experts, never rinse the pasta because the sauce or dressing will slide off the pasta. You want the sauce to stick to the pasta!

How to cook the bacon:
You can cook the bacon two ways:
1. Cook it in a fry pan on top of stove
2. Or in the oven..
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Place a piece of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet (for easy clean up) then line the bacon strips on the foil and bake it for about 20 minutes or till the bacon turn brown and crisp.

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