Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sumptuous Shrimp and Pasta Salad

This cold one-dish supper will be a family favourite on those hot summer nights. Do the cooking late at night or early in the morning when the kitchen is cool, then just assemble a bunch of cold ingredients at suppertime and serve! Perfect for pot lucks, picnics, or poolside dinners on those evenings when it is just too hot to cook!

Sumptuous Shrimp Salad
1 lb (500g) Rotini Pasta
1 lg bottle Bernstein's Cheese and Garlic Italian (Fat Free) salad dressing
8 to 16 oz Shelled shrimp (you can substitute cubed ham or sliced smoked chicken)
3 large Eggs

1 medium Red Bermuda onion, coarsely chopped
1 large Avocado, ripe
¼ cup Lemon juice
1/2 small can Sliced black olives
2 small jars Marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 small jar Marinated mushrooms, drained
2 ripe Tomatoes, cut into 8 wedges each
1 can Asparagus tips, chilled and drained
Parmesan cheese, grated

The night before (or early in the morning of) serving:
Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain, turn into large bowl, and add entire bottle of salad dressing. Stir well to coat the pasta, cover the bowl and put the pasta in the refrigerator.

Hard boil the eggs, shell them, and put them in the refrigerator.

Cook the shrimp: lightly salt 4 quarts water and bring to a boil. Add shrimp and bring back to a boil. Cover pot, turn off the fire, and allow to sit for no more than 5 minutes. Drain the shrimp and refrigerate.

Refrigerate all other ingredients until ready to assemble salad.

To Assemble:
Make sure pasta and ingredients have chilled for at least four hours.

Stir onion, olives, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms into pasta. Peel and cut avocado into bite-sized chunks and toss with lemon juice to prevent browning. Drain and add to pasta. Toss well.

Make a slight well in center of pasta and mound the shrimp (or ham or chicken) there. Slice eggs and place at even intervals around the shrimp on top of the pasta. Space tomato wedges and asparagus tips around shrimp. Grate Parmesan over the entire salad.

Once salad has been presented to the table, toss well to mix ingredients, and serve with more Parmesan (and/or Romano) on the side.

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