One of the things that I really don’t like is when I’ve cooked a beautiful meal and have my guys dragging through the door to announce they are too hot and too tired to even think about eating. It’s a drawback to cooking anything in August. I know, make a salad and call it a day, right? But there has to be more to a salad than chopped lettuce. And there is!
Once again, when the guys walked through the door and saw what was awaiting them for supper after a long, hot day, they made a face. Really? It’s cold, it’s refreshing and served with wine . . . what more can they want? Okay, warm bread. Now this is a lovely late summer meal.
Yet I still got that face of uncertainty. You would think after all these years, they would learn to trust my judgement. But no, it usually takes a bite to put their worrisome minds at ease. This was such a hit that there were only a few shells left at the end of the meal.
Stuffed Pasta Shell Salad
20 Jumbo Pasta Shells
1 Head Romaine Lettuce
1 bottle Girard’s Old Venice Italian Vinaigrette
1 lb Deli Chicken, thick sliced
5 oz Italian Salami, thick sliced
1/2 cup Basil Leaves
2 firm Roma Tomatoes
Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil. Add pasta shells as directed on the package, about 12 minutes.
While the pasta is cooking, cut the root end from a small head of Romaine Lettuce. Slice the lettuce in ribbons. Scatter the shredded lettuce in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Drizzle with about 1/4 cup or so of the dressing. Toss and set aside.
Chop the deli chicken into bite-size pieces. Scatter in a large bowl. Next chop the salami. Scatter in the bowl over the chicken. Toss to blend.
Stack the basil leaves, cut into ribbons.
Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
Cut cucumber in half. Peel, then slice into rounds. Chop rounds into small pieces.
Toss everything in the bowl over the meat and mix well.
Pour remaining vinaigrette over the salad mixture. Toss to coat. Taste and adjust with a little salt and pepper if needed. Set aside.
Drain pasta, allow to cool to room temperature.
Once the shells are fully cooled to room temperature, stuff with the chopped salad.
Arrange the stuffed shells in a casserole dish to fit snugly. This will help the shells hold their shape.
Cover and refrigerate 2 hours before serving. This is wonderful with warm garlic bread and a well-chilled bottle of your favorite white wine.