Saturday, August 15, 2015

Macaroni Salad ~ An American Picnic Classic

Here in the States, the favorite summer macaroni salad is a pasta salad, served cold made with cooked elbow macaroni and usually prepared with mayonnaise. You'll find it at most every summer cookout and picnic, where it's frequently brought as a shared 'covered dish'.

Julian's Macaroni Salad
Recently I was asked for my recipe and referred to this food blog, only to discover I'd never presented it here. I suppose it never came up as I don't follow any written recipe just making it as my mother and sister do. It really couldn't be more simple but there is a trick to ensuring it comes out good each time. Pasta absorbs the wet ingredients, so it is necessary to make it a day before serving and then check it to ensure it doesn't require more of the wet ingredients. Just stirring in a little extra mayonnaise, mustard and/or relish 24 hours after making it will ensure a creamy, delicious side for your summer event.

While the classic version uses elbow macaroni, there is no reason you can't use other shapes. My sister prefers the shells, as they hold the sauce well. Just make sure that whatever pasta shape you select can stand up to being stirred in a relatively stiff sauce several times. You don't want a pasta that will break up during preparation.

1 pound elbow macaroni
3 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup minced bell pepper
1/3 cup diced celery
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Kraft salad dressing
   substitute with added mayo and 1 TBL vinegar
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
3 tablespoons (wet) yellow mustard
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

paprika (for garnish only)

Bring a large pot of water to boil adding 4 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon oil.  Add the macaroni to the boiling water and cook until tender, but not overly soft. Time will vary depending on your pasta shape of choice. Check package directions and taste to determine doneness. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Return to cool pot or transfer to mixing bowl.

Chop 2 of the 3 hard boiled peeled eggs, keeping one for a garnish, which you will slice. Finely chop (mince) the onion, pepper and celery.

Add the chopped onion, pepper and celery to the cooled macaroni. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Place in covered bowl in refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours.

Prior to serving stir and taste. If the salad feels too stiff or dry, ad more mayonnaise, Kraft salad dressing, relish and/or mustard as needed. Stir to combine, transfer to serving bowl and garnish with the remaining sliced boiled egg, sprinkled with paprika.

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