Pickled pasta salad may sound a bit strange but it is deliciously refreshing and oh so delightful. There is a perfect balance of tartness from the vinegar and sweetness from the sugar. I love to serve this pasta salad with a juicy grilled burger so I can soak up all of the extra pasta juices with my burger bun - slurp!
This is also a great picnic item. It is tightly sealed in a jar which makes for easy travel and nothing will spoil at the picnic!
Step 1: Noodle Mush
In a large stock pot bring water to a rolling boil. Add 1 t. salt. Reduce heat to medium-high and add 8 oz penne pasta. Overcook pasta until it is mushy - easily smashed with the back of a fork. Approximately 18-20 minutes.
When you test the pasta and think it is done cook it for five more minutes. The pasta will eventually harden up in the sauce and the last thing you want is the pasta to be too hard to chew. Trust me on this I've made this a thousand times!
Once pasta is cooked to mush strain it and rinse with cool water.
I recommend using penne pasta over say a rotini that might easily break apart when overcooked. Penne can still hold it's shape when mushy.
Step 2: Make Sauce
While the pasta is cooking make the sauce.
Pickled Pasta Salad
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar - I like Bragg's
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 T. mustard
1/2 t. dried parsley (optional)
In a small mixing bowl whisk all ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
Step 3: Cut Veggies
While the pasta is cooking also cut the veggies.
1/4 large red onion - julienned
1/4 large red bell pepper - diced
8-10 kalamata olives - sliced
You can choose a combo of any of your favorite veggies but this is what I think works best with the flavor profile of the sauce.
Cut veggies and set aside.
Step 4: Toss and Refrigerate
Toss the rinsed pasta, sauce and veggies in a large mixing bowl using a rubber spatula as to not break the mushy pasta! Gently spoon pasta into a large mason jar making sure to get all of the juices and sauce in the jar. Screw lid on tight and refrigerate the pasta overnight turning the jar upside down every few hours - if you can - to re-coat the pasta in the upper part of the jar.
Serve cold the next day and enjoy!