Do you guys have a family recipe that totally brings back your childhood whenever you eat it? For me it’s this Perfect Summer Pasta! It’s super easy to put together and because of this, it’s been a regular guest at almost every family picnic I can remember for the last 30 year. It really is the Perfect Summer Pasta!
I must confess that I’m totally risking my family disowning me because I’m sharing this recipe with the world! Like most families, we’ve all become quite possessive of this simple pasta salad that my grandmother says she originally found in the local newspaper sometime in the 80’s. The ingredients are super basic but somehow, like a finely-tuned tetris game, they fit just perfectly together. Of course, you can substitute any of the ingredients but I highly suggest just leaving them the way they are. I’m giving you permission to use real mayo, real cheese, and real pasta…your tastebuds will thank me!
I’ve made this so many times that I’ve got the timing down to an art. While two 1 lb. boxes of pasta (I usually use large elbow, btw) are boiling, start chopping both the cheese blocks, olives, onion, and cilantro. Chopping everything is the most time consuming part of this recipe. I’ve used pre-chopped olives in a pinch before but I swear there’s a difference when you chop your own! I think the width is a little thicker which adds to the yummy olive flavor in each bite. Store in a large bowl in the fridge until the pasta has cooked and cooled completely.
Once everything has cooled in the fridge for 30-60 minutes (the more the better!), find the largest bowl you have (or separate ingredients into two) and mix the chopped add-in’s, pasta, and 1 1/2 cups of mayo. Stir to mix completely and season to taste with salt. Keep refrigerated until it’s time to serve!
Seriously, this recipe makes enough to serve to about 24 people! If you don’t expect quite as large a crowd, you can definitely split this recipe in half. Also, don’t worry too much about exact measurements. If the pasta seems a bit dry, add a bit more mayo. Love olives? Throw some more in there! There’s almost no way you can screw up the Perfect Summer Pasta!
The Perfect Summer Pasta
- 2 lbs Large Elbow Pasta
- ¾ lb Monterrey Jack cheese cubed
- ¾ lb Medium Sharp Cheddar cheese cubed
- 1 Cilantro Bunch
- 1 Green Onion Bunch
- 2 6 oz cans Black olives
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- salt to taste
- Set a large pot of water to boil and add elbow pasta until cooked.
- While pasta is cooking, chop the cheese, cilantro, olives, and onion. Place in large bowl and place in fridge
- Once pasta is cooked, drain and cool in fridge.
- Combined thoroughly cooled ingredients into one large bowl with 1 1/2 cups of mayo. Add more if needed. Season with salt to taste
- Return to fridge until ready to serve.