Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dysfunctional Family Pasta Salad

Yup, you read that right. Be prepared for the greatest, simplest, and most "dysfunctional" pasta salad recipe of your life. It will take you through summer and all of it's glorious cookouts and various outdoor festivities. Don't let the name fool you. Or the story I am about to tell.
This is pure pasta salad genius that has been passed down through my family for years.

First of all, how ever did it get that name? Well...I do have a large, hilarious and loud Italian family. And yes, we do all make this pasta salad. But why the "Dysfunctional?" Am I implying that we are dysfunctional? Never.

You see, legend has it (yes, it's already been proclaimed a legend), that all the women in our family used to make this pasta salad and take it to school and/or neighborhood events. While this dish was a big hit at our family functions, it seems that the outside world didn't quite take to it. The pasta would just sit on the buffets, lonely and practically untouched. A travesty I tell you, as it is simply excellent. Easy to prepare and chock full of flavor. Since it was always an "unpopular dish," it was given the not so positive adjective of "Dysfunctional."

Those other people didn't know what they were missing. But I want to thank them, because they gave this family recipe a hilarious name. And for that I can never repay them.

We do have a theory as to why WHY this salad scares away party goers. Our thoughts? The chunks o' salami. See below:

Here are the ingredients, and these can be varied:

-1 lb. pasta (I use rotini and here I used whole wheat - it was actually really delicious)
-1 block mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
-1/2 lb salami, cut into chunks (the chunkier, the more dysfunctional) DELI NOTE: Ask for it in a block. No slices. The deli person will think it's weird, but just go with it.
-chopped red onion to your liking
-chopped olives (I don't put them in as Mr. Fo is not a fan)
-Bell peppers (completely optional)
-Almost an entire bottle of Italian dressing


Cook pasta then immediately drain and plunge into ice water to begin cooling

Chop up all veggies/cheeses/meats

Add chopped items to pasta

Mix with Italian Dressing

Put in fridge until cooled

If you are afraid of a salami chunk, I am afraid I don't want to know you. Please take a chance on this hearty summer treat. I promise, it's the easiest and most delicious pasta salad I have ever had. Is it the prettiest or the most sophisticated dish? No. But delectable? Yes.

The women in my family continue to make and share this family recipe to this day. And yes, always with the salami chunks. ALWAYS! This perseverance has been passed down to the next generation, as my cousins and I make this delicious pasta salad as well. It has become a tradition for our summer trips that we have this dish as a part of our weekend. Dysfunctional or not, we love it. Here is a picture of me with my beautiful cousins (I'm on the right, Lauren on the left, and Theresa in the middle - they are like my sisters!). Can't you just picture us sitting around the table eating chunks of salami? Nothin' dysfunctional 'bout that.

So give this dish a whirl at your next gathering but don't blame me if it's not the first dish gobbled up from the buffet. You have been warned.


  1. Looks and sounds yummy! Will have to give this a try! Have a sweet day!

  2. I would go to town on that salad. I love salami!

  3. hilarious. and delicious looking.