Another Cook's Illustrated tested recipe, however I've added my own personal touch. They recommend the sweet, smoky flavor of Texas Best or Bull's-Eye barbecue sauce, but feel free to substitute your favorite. As the salad sits, it can become dry; just before serving, stir in a few tablespoons of warm water to bring back its creamy texture. Time indicated includes recommended cooling time.
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1⁄2 cup celery, chopped
- 4 scallions, sliced thin
- 3⁄4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, cubed (optional)
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1⁄2 cup barbecue sauce (see note above)
- salt & fresh ground pepper
- Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and macaroni and cook until nearly tender, about 5 minutes.
- Drain in colander and rinse with cold water until cool, then drain once more, briefly, so that pasta is still moist; transfer to large bowl.
- Stir in bell peppers, celery, scallions, vinegar, hot sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper, and let sit until flavors are absorbed, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in mayonnaise and barbecue sauce and let sit until salad is no longer watery, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in cheddar cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve. (The salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Check seasonings before serving.).