Pepperoni Pizza Salad

Recipe

I thought this salad was really neat and I figured if there is pasta included, it would be more filling than a regular green salad.  Salads like this one are probably more popular in the Winter.  I got this recipe from the book Pasta Salad: 50 Favorite Recipes by Barbara Lauterbach.  If you love pizza or pasta, this should be heaven to you!

Pepperoni Pizza Salad

You will need:
-8 ounces ditalini or other small, tubular pasta
-4 ounces pepperoni sausage, cut into 1/4-slices, then the slices quartered
-1/2 cup green bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and chopped
-2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
-1 cup fresh white mushrooms, thinly sliced
-1/2 cup pitted black olives, thinly sliced
-8 ounces mozzarella, shredded

For Dressing:
-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper
-1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
-1 clove garlic, minced
-2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
-1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package for al dente.  Drain into a colander and rinse briefly under cold running water.  Shake the colander gently to drain completely.  Set aside.
To make dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk in the anchovy paste (if using), garlic and oregano.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil until an emulsion forms.
Place the pasta, pepperoni, bell pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, and mozzarella in a large serving bowl.  Toss together gently.  Pour the dressing over the mixture and toss again, gently but thoroughly.  Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Serves 4 to 6

There is no bread crust in this salad (or melted cheese for that matter), but it is an interesting substitute to eating cold pizza.  I would say this recipe is the answer to those fans who want the flavor of pizza but not necessarily the dough part, or those who love eating pasta and want to try something different.  Since it is a salad, it is not a warm meal but it would still work as a dish to eat alongside green salad, finger foods or sandwiches.  You could even have it on its own for lunch.

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