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Volume II
March 9, 2007

Pasta Salads
By Kyle Phillips

Wonderful when it's hot, easy to make, improve with time, and perfect on picnics.

Pasta is extraordinarily versatile, and while it is the perfect comfort food in winter, for example with a rich meat sauce or baked, it can also be one of the most refreshing summer dishes there is, if it's made into a pasta salad to be served either warm (never hot) or chilled.

Many pasta salads can also be made ahead, and indeed benefit from several hours of refrigeration, which gives the ingredients of the sauce time to meld and also allows the sauce to fully flavor the pasta.

This makes pasta salad perfect for days when you're rushed and have to prepare ahead, and also makes it an ideal picnic food: You put it in the cooler, together with the meats for the grill and whatever else you are taking (Lambrusco would be nice), and it gets better on the way.

A couple of observations:

Since pasta salads are made ahead, you want more substantial shapes, along the lines of ziti, butterflies, or penne, whose thicker walls will maintain their body as they absorb the sauce.

Since pasta does continue to absorb sauce even if it's cool or chilled, you don't want to start out with too dry a sauce, or the dish will dry out by serving time. Be careful not to exaggerate in the other direction, however.

If you have any additional doubling tips that you'd like to add, please post them on the Cook'n Club Forum (if you're a Cook'n Club Member)...or e-mail them to

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