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Pasta salad (Pasta fredda) is a salad dish prepared with one or more types of pasta, almost always chilled, and most often tossed in a vinegar, oil, or mayonnaise-based dressing. It is typically served as an appetizer, side dish or a main course. Pasta salad is often regarded as a spring or summertime meal, but it can be served year-round.
|Course||Appetizer, side dish or main course|
|Main ingredients||Pasta, vinegar or oil or mayonnaise|
The ingredients used vary widely by region, restaurant, seasonal availability, and/or preference of the preparer. The salad can be as simple as cold macaroni mixed with mayonnaise (a macaroni salad), or as elaborate as several pastas tossed together with a vinaigrette and a variety of fresh, preserved or cooked ingredients. Additional types of pasta may be used, such as ditalini. These can include vegetables, legumes, cheeses, nuts, herbs, spices, meats, poultry, or seafood. Broccoli, carrots, baby corn, cucumbers, olives, onions, beans, chick peas, peppers, and parmesan or feta cheeses are all popular ingredients in versions typically found at North American salad bars.
Often, it is recommended to rinse the pasta after cooking, but before dressing and serving. The reason for this is to prevent the pasta from becoming gummy and sticking together. For a cold salad, the pasta can be rinsed in cold water because the salad will be chilled anyway. Lukewarm or hot water could also be used, but would be less efficient. An alternative is to add oil (like olive oil) to the pasta, either after it is done cooking or to add it to the pasta water. The noodles can be spread out to cool and will not stick together because of the layer of oil on their surfaces.
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In Australian and New Zealand cuisine, pasta salad became increasingly popular during the 1990s when commercial versions became more readily available in supermarket stores across both Australia, and New Zealand. It is made up of cooked pasta pieces (usually either shell pasta, elbow shaped pasta or Penne) covered in mayonnaise and accompanied by carrots, capsicum (bell peppers), and sometimes celery. It is similar in style to the American macaroni salad.
A pasta salad prepared with fusili pasta