I’m the cook in the family and am always coming up with new recipes or adapting existing ones. Unfortunately, I almost never write down my recipes or the changes I made, much to the chagrin of my daughter and wife.
My excuse is that when I’m in the moment creating, I don’t have the time to keep stopping and writing down what I do. Of course, their immediate response is, “Do it right after you’re finished. Duh.”
However, I have been doing better. For recipes I change, on occasion I go back and write those changes on the recipe. Last month I came across a recipe by Geoffrey Zakarian for Italian Chicken Pasta Salad from the Food Network’s TV show The Kitchen. If you DVR this show, then check out episode Welcome to the Kitchen!
When I was finished with my changes to the recipe, it was one of those dishes you kept going back for more. And more. And just a bit more.
After the first time I made the dish, my wife insisted I write down my changes and stood next to me making sure I did that very thing. It was so delicious and refreshing, she advised me I was making it for a shower she was sponsoring later this month (among other dishes).
So, without further ado, below is my adapted version of Geoffrey Zakarian’s Italian Chicken Pasta Salad.
- 2 cups dried small seashell macaroni (or elbows)
- 1 rotisserie chicken, torn in bite-size pieces
- 1½ cucumbers, diced
- 1 small container cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 jar Mediterranean olives (I use Mezzetta’s Mediterranean Za’ater olives), with each olive cut in 2-3 slices (reserve the juice for the dressing)
- 1 8-ounce jar roasted red peppers, sliced (reserve the juice for the dressing)
- ½ to 1 cup (depending on taste) diced Genoa salami
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (I use a whole sealed cup of prechopped parsley)
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
- Cook the macaroni per the instructions on the box for al dente. Once cooked, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Shake out all the water, then transfer to a large bowl.
- To the bowl add the chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, peppers, salami, and parsley. Toss to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, Mediterranean olive juice, and roasted red pepper juice. Pour it over the salad and toss well.
- Let stand at temperature for 30 minutes for the flavors to meld.
- Sprinkle feta cheese over individual servings or add the entire 4 oz. to the salad under step 2.
- I use no salt in this dish as there is sodium from the olives and peppers. However, salt to taste using Kosher salt.
- I go back and forth between using 2 cups or 3 cups of dried pasta.
- I have used 2/3 of a 16 oz. jar of roasted red peppers and it works, too.
- If you like onion, you can add ¼ cup diced red onion.
- Yields 6-8 servings