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Quick and easy pasta salad recipes are a summertime essential. We'd like to let you in on a little secret: pasta salads don't need to be a soggy mess. That's right, you can prepare a pasta salad that is firm yet flavorful if you follow one simple rule.
The trick lies in cooking the pasta until it's al dente (just until it loses that starchy center when cut in half). Many pasta boxes in America indicate a cooking time of 10-12 minutes (if you cook pasta this long you'll never end up with a firm bite).
Remember that pasta will continue cooking after it's been drained so don't be afraid to cut the cooking time to ensure your pasta is perfectly al dente. We find 8 minutes is just the right amount of cooking time for one pound of pasta.
Here are four easy pasta salad recipes that will help you get it right:
Cold Spaghetti Salad
While spaghetti is an unconventional shape for a pasta salad, this recipe from Michelin-starred Italian chef Luigi Taglienti really works.
The noodles are paired with carrots and grapefruit for a nice zest.
Caprese Pasta Salad
Everyone's favorite tomato and mozzarella salad gets a makeover in this easy pasta salad recipe that gets an extra kick from garlic, onion and chili peppers.
Bowtie Pasta Salad with Chicken
By adding chicken to this pasta salad you'll have a hearty lunch or dinner. Peas, parsley, sesame seeds and Parmesan cheese complete this easy recipe.
Pasta Salad with Olives, Walnuts and Tomatoes
Crunchy, colorful and simply irresistible this is the perfect pasta salad recipe to serve at a picnic because it's vegetarian - so it will please veggie lovers and meat eaters alike.
Pasta Salad with Tuna
This easy breezy pasta salad recipe blends all the great flavors of the Mediterranean: tuna, arugula, onions, tomatoes, lemons and plenty of extra virgin olive oil.