Elena Besser features Smoky Italian Pasta Salad, as seen on Food Network Kitchen Live.
Recipe courtesy of Elena Besser

Smoky Italian Pasta Salad

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings



  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 3 handfuls of kosher salt to the water. Taste the water; it should be as salty as the sea. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside. 
  2. While the pasta is cooking, cube the salami, halve the tomatoes, dice the roasted peppers, cube the mozzarella, thinly slice the pepperoncini, cut the basil into chiffonade and pick the oregano from the stems. Set everything aside; congrats, you’ve got your mise-en-place. 
  3. To make the dressing, finely mince the shallot and put it in a mason jar or other jar with a tightly fitting lid. Grate the garlic into the jar. Add the vinegar and season with salt and cracked pepper to taste. Screw on the lid and shake. Open the jar, add the oil, close the lid, and shake again to emulsify the dressing. 
  4. Put the pasta into a large bowl. Add the salami, tomatoes, roasted pepper, mozzarella, pepperoncini, 1/2 cup of the basil, 1 tablespoon of the oregano and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss to combine. Adjust the seasoning to taste with more salt and pepper. Finish the salad with the remaining basil, oregano and Parmesan. Enjoy. Can be made up to 3 to 4 days in advance of serving; this pasta salad actually gets better as it sits. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.