Cool and Refreshing Pasta Salad with Options

 More hot weather dishes to keep your kitchen and mine cool!!!!

My friend Natalie first introduced me to this pasta salad.  Prior to her recipe I had never cared for any pasta salad except the tried and true mayo version.  Natalie used only pasta, cherry tomato and green onion tops for her salad.  I have added at various times olives, carrots, cheese, artichoke hearts, and hard salami.  Here is the salad I prepared today, plain or garnished with salami.

12 Oz. Tri-Color Rotini
12 Oz. bottled Italian salad dressing
14 Oz. can ripe green or black olives, drained
14 Oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
1 pint cherry tomatoes or 2 C. diced tomato
1/3 C. sliced green onion tops
black pepper
2-3 T. sugar, optional
2-3 Oz. diced hard salami

Cook pasta per package directions.  Drain canned ingredients.  Wash tomatoes and dice if needed.  Wash and slice onion tops.  Combine all of these prepared ingredients in a large bowl 3-4 hours prior to serving time so they will have time to chill well before serving.  Add the Italian dressing, salt, pepper, and optional sugar and mix well. (Our family prefers sweet and it is really tasty with a bit of sugar added but it is NOT necessary to use.)  Refrigerate.  At serving time you may garnish with diced salami and/or cheese if desired.

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