Creamy Ham Pasta Salad with Tomato
A pasta salad is a versatile dish, and you can serve it as a side dish, as part of a buffet or cookout perhaps, or you can enjoy it on a bed of salad leaves for lunch. This recipe can be made with any kind of pasta shapes from penne to bowtie pasta to spiral pasta, or whatever you like, and you could even consider whole wheat pasta if you like the wholesome flavor and slightly chewier texture.
The following recipe blends the pasta with ham and tomato, red onion and celery for crunch, and a dressing made with extra-virgin olive oil, mustard, mayonnaise and sour cream. Fresh dill weed adds more color as well as a herbal flavor, and this salad can be as creamy as you want, or else you might like to swap some of the mayonnaise for yogurt dressing, or use reduced-fat sour cream and mayonnaise. A salad such as this one is more American-Italian than authentic. In Italy a salad is usually made with fresh vegetables and dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar.
Pasta is a lovely ingredient to use in salads though, especially when combined with a creamy dressing. You can put all kinds of things in a pasta salad too, from seafood to chicken, beef, sausage, or even veggies. The following recipe is quite a classic pasta salad recipe. You can make this up to a couple days ahead too if you like, just adding a little milk and giving it a stir before serving.
- 8 oz uncooked pasta shapes
- ¼ finely diced red onion
- 6 oz chopped cooked ham
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 chopped fresh tomato
- 2 diced celery ribs
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Cook the pasta following the directions on the package.
- Drain it well and let it cool for 5 minutes, then put it in a bowl.
- Whisk the mustard and vinegar together.
- Keep whisking while you drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil.
- Whisk in the sour cream, then add salt and black pepper to taste.
- Stir in the ham, onion, celery, tomato and dill weed.
- Fold in the dressing to coat the pasta.
- Taste it and add some more salt and black pepper if necessary.
- You can add some milk if the salad seems dry.
- If you refrigerate it overnight you will probably need to add a little milk the next day.
- Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs to serve.
You cannot go wrong with a lovely, creamy pasta salad, and this one features ham and tomato, for a classic flavor, plus red onion and celery for crunch. Feel free to add other ingredients if you wish, such as cubes of mozzarella or cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, or you can swap the chopped tomato for some halved cherry tomatoes, or the dill weed for shredded fresh basil. Leave out the ham and it becomes vegetarian-friendly. The photo shows what a rich and creamy result you can expect if you choose to make this tasty pasta salad.
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