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8 Summer Italian Pasta Salad Recipes

If you are looking for a collection of Italian Pasta Salad Recipes, keep reading this article: we’ve collected the best pasta recipes you can make this summer and the advice to make your Italian pasta salad like an Italian.
Pasta salad is one of the most loved Italian dishes in the summertime when it’s too hot to cook, but you still want to eat something tasty.

We Italians know how to make sure that even the purest ingredients can turn into something truly amazing. In the case of the pasta salad, the secret is to play with the ingredients according to your taste and seasonality, mixing aroma and flavors to create unique and highly effective combinations.

In this guide, we want to give you all the advice you need to make your Italian pasta salad, with the tricks on how to prepare it at home and ten recipes you cannot miss.

How do you make Italian pasta salad from scratch?

To make pasta salad from scratch at home, you need to follow a few rules, that will allow your pasta to be delicious.

  • Always use good quality and porous pasta because this is the only way to make sure the seasoning will hold, the starch will not be lost, and the excess water will be absorbed;
  • Use only short-shaped pasta that works better and is less slippery compared to long-shaped pasta;
  • Cook the pasta a few minutes less than the cooking times shown on the package;
  • The cooking water should not be salted before pouring the pasta into the pot;
  • Never wash the cooked pasta under cold water to cool it, but instead drain it and let it cool on parchment paper before mixing it with a little olive oil and put it in the refrigerator;
  • Add the dressing only when the pasta is cold;
  • Prepare the pasta dressing in advance in a bowl so that all the ingredients can mix well together;
  • Any mayonnaise, cheese, salad, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese should be added only a few minutes before serving the pasta to avoid problems in taste and even consistency.

Read Also: How to Cook Pasta

What is the best pasta for pasta salad?

The size and shape of the pasta matter when making this summery side dish. Stick with dried pasta instead of fresh and always go for short pasta shapes, both because they hold the sauce better and because they are easier to manage and eat, even on the go.

How long will Pasta Salad last in the fridge?

Ideally, you should eat your pasta salad within 24 hours, but don’t worry; your salad will be okay even after two days if there’s no mayonnaise or any wet ingredients.

Can you make pasta salad the night before?

You can, and you should. The earlier you make your pasta salad, the better it is: I usually prepare mine the night before and eat it at lunch the following day. In this way, all the flavors will have time to get incorporated into the pasta.

How long should pasta salad sit before serving?

I prefer to make sure my pasta sit for at least 12 hours in the fridge before serving it, but you can also wait less time. The most important rule to remember is that your pasta should be completely cooled before serving it. Otherwise, it’s not an Italian pasta salad recipe anymore.

How do you keep pasta salad moist?

The best thing you can do to keep your Italian pasta salad moist is tossing it with olive oil as soon as it gets a bit cold and before seasoning it: in this way, you will create a layer that will help keep the pasta moist.

What can I add to pasta salad?

Pasta salad goes with everything, as long it’s fresh and seasonal. If you want to make an authentic Italian pasta salad, then you need to use authentic Italian ingredients or at least Italian recipes. We’ve written a guide about the 10 essential Italian ingredients to use.

Italian Pasta Salad: Shopping List

The following ingredients and items are fundamental if you want to prepare an Italian pasta salad.

8 Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipes

Here you have 8 of the most delicious and simple pasta salad recipes to try absolutely in summer. If you click on the link, you may be redirected to the Italian version of this magazine so bear in mind you may need to use a translator to get the best out our recipe(s).

1. Pasta Salad With Salmon

The Pasta Salad With Salmon is simple and really tasty: it’s prepared with very few ingredients and good pasta. You can add mayonnaise directly to the dish and also change the ingredients if you’d like. Click for the recipe.

2. Pesto pasta salad

Pesto and prawns are the perfect combinations for this pasta that can be prepared in advance and eaten cold or lukewarm. The secret is all in the pesto that must be prepared at home with this authentic Italian recipe. Click for the recipe.

3. Tuna pasta salad

Pasta with tuna and tomatoes is a classic, timeless, Italian dish, that you can also bring with you at work or on the beach: tuna and cherry tomatoes are mixed with corn for a superb Italian summer pasta dish A good tuna and red cherry tomatoes are the secrets for the excellent result of this simple pasta salad. Click for the recipe.

4. Pasta salad with rocket pesto

Prepare this rocket-based pesto, for a simple and very quick cold pasta recipe: you cook the pasta and in the meantime make the pesto by blending everything in a blender. Once the pasta is cooked, season it and eat it when it’s cooled down. Click for the recipe.

5. Pasta salad with beans

The classic pasta and beans can be revisited to enjoy it to the fullest even in summer. The recipe is very simple and delicious, ideal for those who love genuine flavors and do not want to give up fresh beans when in full seasonality. Click for the recipe.

6. Caprese pasta salad

The simplest pasta salad ever, possibly the best one: just follow the instructions to cook the pasta and then season it with mozzarella cheese (or buffalo mozzarella) and red tomatoes. Add extra virgin olive oil and whole fresh basil.

7. Cold Pasta alla Norma

The pasta alla Norma is a staple in Italy and it’s perfect also in the cold version. Just follow the basic recipe, but season your pasta only when it is cold. A really greedy variant of a classic.

8. Pasta salad with courgette flowers and courgettes

Zucchini and zucchini flowers are the emblem of summer and the cold pasta with courgettes flowers and courgettes is truly delicious. Follow the classic recipe, season the pasta, let it cool and serve it: a guaranteed success!

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About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a freelance content marketer and digital strategist. She's an accredited journalist, a member of the British Guild of Travel Writer, and a certified sommelier. She's the co-owner of TheFoodellers and a bunch of other websites.
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