Great Foods of Italy: Pasta Salad


I grandi cibi italiani: pasta fredda
pasta salad

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When it’s so hot you no longer know what to cook or eat, pasta fredda is always a good idea. 

Pasta salad, or “cold pasta”, is a typical Italian summer dish, consisting of pasta mixed with a number of ingredients and seasoned in different ways.

For pasta fredda, short pasta shapes are preferred. Wholemeal pasta can also be used. 

When the pasta is cooked, it is generally rinsed in cold water to halt cooking, eliminate starch and prevent the pieces of pasta from sticking together. It is advisable to prepare at least part of the dressing in advance so that it can be added to the pasta as soon as it’s cooked, when it’s still warm; this way, the timely addition of olive oil and dressing will help keep the pieces of pasta separated. The warm pasta will absorb the dressing much better, making the dish all the more flavorful.

To make a good pasta salad, avoid using fresh pasta, which doesn’t hold up as well as dry pasta. Also avoid long pasta shapes such as linguine and spaghetti. Prefer short shapes like fusilli, penne and farfalle, which are easy to toss and serve; plus their little folds and pockets make it easy to trap dressing, herbs, and small ingredients.

Common ingredients used to dress pasta salads are cherry tomatoes, diced vegetables, olives, corn, shrimps, capers, tuna, arugula, diced ham or other cured meats and cheeses like mozzarella, also diced so that they mix well with the pasta.

Pasta salad is often eaten as a first course, but it’s also popular at aperitivo buffets, as well as during picnics, or as a cold lunch idea for work, which you can prepare in large amounts and use for two/three days during the week. Avoid keeping it longer than that or it will become soggy. 


Quando fa così caldo che non sai più cosa cucinare o mangiare, la pasta fredda è sempre una buona idea.

L'insalata di pasta, o “pasta fredda”, è un piatto italiano tipicamente estivo, composto da pasta mescolata con vari ingredienti e condita in diversi modi.

Per la pasta fredda si preferiscono i formati di pasta corta. Si può utilizzare anche la pasta integrale.

Quando la pasta è cotta, viene generalmente sciacquata in acqua fredda per fermare la cottura, elimin

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