This is a delicious salad that has lovely colors, for a nice presentation line the serving bowl with whole lettuce leaves, plan ahead the pasta/veggie and Italian dressing mixture needs to chill for at least 6 hours --- the amounts I have listed are just a guideline you may adjust to taste, if you are serving a crowd I would suggest to double.
- 3 -4 cups dry spiral shaped pasta
- 1 1⁄2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 1⁄2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (or use one 10-ounce can small whole mushrooms, very well drained)
- 1⁄2 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1⁄2 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 -4 green onions, chopped (or use chopped red onion)
- 1 1⁄2 cups prepared Italian salad dressing
- 3⁄4-1 cup mayonnaise
- 1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3⁄4 cup cubed mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups finely cubed ham
- 1 (2 1/4 ounce) cansliced olives (choice of black or green)
- fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
- salt (optional and to taste)
- 4 -6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into wedges (or sliced)
- Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse the cooked pasta under cold water; drain again then place the cooked pasta into large a bowl.
- Add in tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers and green onion or red onion and Italian salad dressing; toss to mix then cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight mixing a few times during chilling (the Italian dressing acts as a marinade).
- After 6-24 hours chilling time drain any excess water or juice from the tomatoes and mushrooms that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl (there might be no juice at all).
- Add in the cubed mozzarella cheese, ham and olives; toss with a spoon.
- In a small bowl whisk together the with mayonnaise and parmesan cheese until smooth and combined; add into the salad mixture; toss to combine.
- Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt if desired (to taste) .
- Transfer to a lettuce-lined bowl.
- Place the egg wedges around the bowl.