I started making main-course pasta salads to eat before teaching night classes, as I discussed on the About page. This shrimp pasta salad was one of my first and is still one of my favorites.
The tri-color rotini is a must. This salad has green with the pepper and scallions, red with the pepper and the red (well pink) color of the shrimp, and white with the scallions and the shrimp. So you have to continue these colors with the pasta.
I have used various dressings with the salad, including different bottled dressings. The key for this salad, I think, is to have a robust, full-flavored dressing. A note on the Italian herbs: I used a mix, but it would work equally well using half oregano and half basil.
Shrimp pasta salad
3/4 cup – 1 cup shrimp
3/4 cup – 1 cup tri-color rotini
1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
3–4 scallions, sliced, including as much green part as white part
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon Italian herbs
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese
Ahead of time, so they can cool, cook the shrimp and the rotini. Put the shrimp in boiling water, bring back to the boil, cook a minute or two, and drain. Put the rotini in boiling water, cook to al dente (7 minutes for Barilla rotini), drain, and rinse in cold water.
To prepare the salad, cut the shrimp into smaller pieces. Mix the shrimp, rotini, bell peppers, and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, and seasonings. Whisk in the Parmesan cheese. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad a bit at a time, mixing it in.