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This is the most delicious, crunchy, delicious, fresh, delicious, satisfying pasta salad you’ll ever dream of tasting.  Did I mention it’s delicious?

My mom makes this one all the time and a hilariously favorite memory from my childhood is the time my mom was going to be super busy working all week one summer when my brother and I were around 11 and 14, respectively.  She made a gigantic Tupperware bowl full of this salad and we were supposed to eat it for lunch all week long.  You remember those green 1980’s Tupperware bowls that you could sit in?  One of those.  My brother was this knock-knee’d, pre-pubescent, bottomless pit and I’m sure we’d been swimming and he’d been working up an appetite all day.  Well, when my mom arrived home that evening, she found him sitting Indian-style with the giant green bowl in his lap eating the last morsels of this salad with a kitchen spoon the size of his head.  It didn’t even make it past Day 1.  Where that kid put the food, I’ll never know.

My recipe varies just a bit from my mom’s, so I’m sure once this is posted I’ll get an email subtlety alerting me to where I’ve gone wrong.  But, that’s my burden to bear.  So here’s how you make it.

The ingredients:

  • 1 lb. tri-color rotini
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 med-large FINELY diced red onion
  • 2 cups FINELY diced cauliflower
  • 2 cups FINELY diced broccoli
  • 1 can large black olives, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bottle La Martinique True French Viniagrette
  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • Seasonings: cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, garlic powder

So, here’s the secret to this particular recipe.  Tiny, tiny diced vegetables.  I mean like half-the-size-of-a-dime tiny.  And don’t buy those gross pre-sliced olives.  Get the large or jumbo olives and slice them yourself, lazy.  From there it’s just a tiny bit of cooking and a stir to combine.

Dice up your veggies.  Remember…TINY.  Cauliflower, broccoli, red onion.  Toss them into a giant green 1980’s Tupperware bowl.  Or a regular big bowl, as I’ve done below.  You’ll lose the vintage-y aspect, but it will taste exactly the same.

Now slice up the olives and throw those in, too.

In the meantime, cook your pasta to the specifications on the back of the box and let it drain.

Now, in the same pot you’ve just poured your pasta out of, add a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Add in the chicken breast pieces that you’ve just diced…also TINY.  Season them liberally with cayenne pepper, garlic powder, a bit of salt, and black pepper.  I use a lot of cayenne because it’s the only spicy thing that’s in this salad and I like-a the spicy.

Stir to incorporate the seasonings and cook until just done.  Here’s what the process looks like (steamy pics to follow).

Now add the pasta and chicken to the veggies in the bowl.  Season again with a bit more salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Now, just add a big dollop of dijon mustard and about 3/4 of a well-shaken bottle of La Martinique.  This dressing really is imperative.  No impostors will be accepted.

Simply stir to incorporate and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.  Because you added the dressing while it was still hot, it may soak it up and appear a bit dry when you’re ready to eat it.  Simply add the remaining 1/4 bottle of dressing to moisten it back up.  Enjoy from 2 feet in front of the TV while eating directly from the bowl with a giant mixing spoon.  Or like a regular person.  Your call.