I have many fond memories of eating a version of this pasta salad on warm summer evenings during my youth. I made a couple changes to it, primarily in the peppers I used. Instead of green bell peppers I used roasted pasilla peppers. They add more warmth and just the faintest hint of heat.
For the marinade:
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, or 2-3 whole chicken breasts sliced into strips
- 1 cup of your favorite store-bought Italian salad dressing. I use Wishbone.
For the salad:
- 1 pound fusilli pasta
- 1 bunch broccoli, florets trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2 pasilla peppers
- 1 12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 1/2 cup green olives, sliced in half
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
For the dressing:
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning mixture
Step 2. Set two large pots of water to boil, one for the pasta and one for the broccoli. Cook the pasta until it is tender, then drain and rinse with cool water. Cook the broccoli until it is fork-tender, then rinse and drain. Make sure to get all the water out of the broccoli; I ran mine through a salad spinner.
Whisk together the salad dressing and pour 1/2 cup of it over the broccoli florets.
Step 3. Set the pasilla peppers directly over a stovetop burner, turning when one side is charred. Wrap the peppers in plastic for 5 minutes to allow them to steam and cool. Then rub the burnt skin off with your fingers. Remove the seeds and stem and then dice the pepper into cubes.
Step 5. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients – the marinated broccoli, cooked pasta ad diced peppers, plus the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and parmesan cheese. Dice the chicken then pour the remaining salad dressing on top. Toss well to combine.
This salad gets better as it sits and the pasta absorbs some of the dressing.