Lorraine’s Pasta Salad

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Have you noticed that older recipes are often lacking in the instruction department? Take this recipe for example, this is what the recipe card that was given to me looks like:

No instructions, just a list of ingredients. And not a comprehensive list at that, since silly little details like whether an ingredient was to be chopped or not wasn’t indicated. Ya know, silly little details like that.  🙂 I assumed all the non-veggie/non-pasta ingredients were simply combined to create a dressing but we all know what happens when we assume so obviously a little research was required on my part. Also, when Aunt Merri handed this recipe to me she did so with the caveat that the pasta that is usually used in this recipe, Acini Di Pepe, is absolutely horrible and under no circumstances am I to use this offensive carbohydrate. Quite honestly, I’d never heard of Acini Di Pep but apparently it is a very small pasta that gets into your teeth and has a terrible texture and its very existence is completely unnecessary to the human race.

Great. Small pasta is bad. Got it. After much discussion we settled on Ditalini as a substitute which still stays true to the small-ish pasta that the recipe requires but big enough not to do all the offensive things that Acini Di Pepe is accused of doing.

Boil 1 lb. of pasta until just tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

Chop one green pepper, one onion and 3 celery ribs. Grate 4 medium sized carrots.

For the dressing whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup white vinegar, 1 cup oil (I used canola), 1 cup sweetened condensed milk (we keep things low-cal ’round here), 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

This makes A LOT of pasta salad. We’re talking a church-potluck-with-growing-teenage-boys type yield here.  So instead of just pouring all the ingredients into a bowl and trying to stir it altogether with the dressing, I layered everything together.  A little bit of pasta, pepper, onion, celery & carrot into a large bowl, pour some of the dressing, stir and repeat. It’s the easiest way to ensure the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and coated with the dressing.  Once it is all mixed, place in the refrigerator overnight so those flavors can do what flavors like to do in the refrigerator overnight.

Honestly this salad turned out better than I could have ever dreamed. I just showed up with it at Easter Dinner because I wanted people to take a little taste but the whole sweetened condensed milk thing threw me for a loop and sorta freaked me out. I figured if people took taste (and I truly was planning on letting everyone have just a literal spoonful) and it was awful, I could just throw it out right away.  I’m not even kidding.

But alas! It was a hit! Unless you love leftovers you may want to halve the recipe if you’re making it for a normal crowd…unless your normal crowd is a church-potluck-with-growing-teenage-boys.

Lorraine’s Pasta Salad

1 lb. small pasta of choice

1 large green pepper, chopped

4 medium carrots, grated fine

1 medium onion, chopped

3 ribs celery, diced small

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup white vinegar

1 cup canola oil

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. Boil pasta until just tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together sugar, vinegar, oil, sweetened condensed milk, salt & pepper.
  3. In a large bowl start layering pasta, pepper, carrots, onion and celery. Pour some of the oil & vinegar dressing over the ingredients and stir well until all ingredients are covered in dressing. Repeat the layering until all the ingredients are in the bowl and completely covered in dressing.
  4. Place in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Yield: Tons

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