This one has been a big hit with me for years at family dinners with the in-laws. Michael's Aunt Teresa always makes this salad, and I always over eat. Last night, I ask her for the recipe as I wanted to make the salad for a family reunion we were going to today. Thankfully, she was kind enough to share. Thanks, Teresa.
Italian Dressing Pasta Salad
Rainbow Corkscrew Pasta (Any pasta will work. Even spaghetti.)
(1) 16 oz bottle Italian Dressing. (I like Wishbone.)
(2) Roma Tomatoes
(1) Cucumber (A big one.)
(1/2) Green Pepper
(1/2) Onion (I didn't use it but Teresa does.)
(3/4) 8 oz bag shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 lb Ham (thick sliced)
(1) 5 oz bag Caesar Croutons
Fill a big pot with water. I don't measure the amount. I just fill it about 3/4 the way full. Turn the stove on high, and boil the water. Once the water is boiling add in your pasta. Turn heat down to about medium-high and gently boil for about 12 minutes. You want your pasta to be soft, but not mushy. Once your pasta is done drain and rinse with cool water.
Wash your veggies.
Peel the cucumber and dice it up into tiny chunks. Then dice the tomatoes. Cut your pepper in half, clean out seeds, and dice. Peel your onion, cut it in half, and dice it up just like the rest. Mix the cucumber, tomato, and pepper in with the pasta in a large bowl. Put the onion aside.
I have my ham cut in the deli at about a "6" width. Usually it ends up that two slices is 1/2 lb. Cut into strips then cube.
Add the ham and cheese in with the pasta and veggies.
Pour the entire bottle of dressing in on top and mix well.
If I am serving immediately, I go ahead and add in the croutons. If not, I wait and mix them in right before I serve so that they don't get soggy. The same with the onions. If I am going to serve immediately, I add them in, if not, I wait to add them in so that there isn't a real strong onion taste in the entire dish.
Serve immediately or cover and put in fridge and enjoy cold later.