Monday, February 4, 2013

Creamy Smoked Gouda & Cheddar Pasta Salad

About 7 years ago or so, I was introduced the the Smoked Mozzarella & Penne Salad from Whole Foods and I have been in love ever since. It was always a rare treat for me to enjoy this pasta dish, as it is quite expensive, but a couple of years ago I struck gold! This recipe is as close as you can get to the real thing in my opinion. I usually make just a few changes to the recipe. I like to switch it up every now and then and use different cheeses, but I always like include some sort of smoked cheese. This time I used two : : smoked gouda & smoked cheddar! Mmmm..... I also ended up using fresh sweet peppers instead of the roasted red peppers, frozen chopped spinach instead of fresh baby spinach and I left out the parsley. Even with all of those changes it still is the best pasta dish ever - my favorite in the whole world!  Seriously, try this dish!

My Version
(Recipe is doubled)

~Creamy Dressing~
* 1/2 cup parmasan cheese
* 1 cup mayo
* 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
* 4 cloves of garlic, minced or grated on a zester
* salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a big bowl and set to the side

~Pasta Salad & Veggies~
* 1lb of penne noodles (or whatever noodles you prefer)
* 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
* 3-4 mini sweet red peppers chopped julienne style
* 1lb cubed smoked natural cheese (I used smoked gouda & smoked cheddar)

Cook the noodles until al dente, drain and rinse under very cold water. Add the noodles and veggies to the creamy dressing. Stir and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour or until nice and chilled. Serve and enjoy!

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