Creamy Smoked Mozzarella Pasta Salad with Penne pasta, baby spinach, roasted red bell pepper and an outstanding Parmesan cream sauce. This unique and hearty pasta salad recipe, that can be made in advance, will wow guests at your next potluck.
Most pasta salads conjure up images of elbow macaroni pasta covered in a traditional thick overly mayonnais-ed sauce. Believe me, I love these types of pasta salads, but if you’re like me, you’re always looking for something a bit more exciting. Something new and interesting to bring to the next potluck. Something you can make well in advance. Something that travels well. Something that will spark a conversation. After all, pasta is delicious and a pasta salad can be outstanding.
When it comes to grilling season, pasta salad always has a place at the table. We crave it, and never turn it down. This smoked mozzarella version completely reinvents the classic in a way that will have potluckers clamoring for seconds and asking for the recipe.
So What’s Different about this Pasta Salad?
- To start with…Perfect little cubes of smoked mozzarella. This is where you get to practice your knife skills. Cut each little cube of cheese as close to the same size as you can. And make them small cubes. You don’t want to those cubes of cheese to overwhelm, but blend in with the other ingredients in each and every bite.
- Penne pasta. Penne pasta is great for a pasta salad. Not only does the tube shape soak up the sauce, it’s sturdy enough to stand up to the thickest and creamiest dressing.
- The Parmesan Dressing: A beautiful combination of grated Parmesan cheese, mayo and white wine vinegar.
- Spinach and chopped roasted red bell pepper bring color and excitement to finish the salad.
Buy a good quality smoked mozzarella, like Belgioioso Smoked Mozzarella. With a light brown color on the outside and milky flavor on the inside. The texture was perfect and the hickory smoked flavor delicious and not too overwhelming.
Tips for this pasta salad:
Make sure the pasta has cooled to room temperature before adding the smoked mozzarella. If the pasta is too warm, the cheese will melt. You want an end result with perfect little cubes of goodness.
Make this recipe easy by purchasing a jar of roasted red red bell pepper. Or better yet, if your grocery store has an olive bar, you can usually find a pan of roasted red bell peppers there.
Use a wedge of good quality Parmesan Cheese. Not a container of pre-shredded Parmesan.
Recipe for Smoked Mozzarella Pasta Salad with Parmesan Cream Sauce
I hope you give this pasta salad recipe a try. And if you do, please come back and let me know how you liked it and give the recipe a star rating.
Your feedback is valuable to me for developing future recipes. And if you have a favorite recipe using smoked mozzarella, let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
Creamy Smoked Mozzarella Pasta Salad with Penne Pasta, baby spinach, roasted red bell pepper and an outstanding Parmesan cream sauce. This unique and hearty pasta salad recipe, that can be made in advance, will wow guests at your next pot luck.
- THE PARMESAN DRESSING:
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1/2 cup parsley chopped
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic minced (1 teaspoon)
- 1 Pinch New Mexico Red Chile Powder or cayenne
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- THE SALAD:
- 1/2 pound penne pasta
- 2 cups packed baby spinach washed and stemmed
- 2 small jarred roasted red pepper diced
- 1/2 pound smoked mozzarella cheese diced
Prepare cheese and vegetables and set aside.
- TO PREPARE THE PARMESAN DRESSING
- Combine the Parmesan cheese, parsley, mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper with a hand mixer or in the bowl of food processor or in a blender until the dressing is smooth.
- TO PREPARE THE SALAD
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until it is al dente. Drain the pasta into a colander, run cold water over it until pasta comes to room temperature, and drain well.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, spinach, roasted red peppers, and smoked mozzarella. Add sauce and stir well.
Can be made in advance.