This is one of my favorite pasta salad recipes EVER and comes from time spent cooking with my late best friend, Shawn. Go here for the best salsa you will EVER eat. I still have the handwritten recipe card, written decades ago. Shawn was an instrumental part during the beginning of my “love” for cooking as we were both early 20 something’s with kids and just beginning to learn how to cook. I have a great many stories to share on this subject.
This is a ridiculously delicious and filling recipe, and can actually be considered a “main course” as it has a good amount of protein in addition to the pasta. Make it your own by using different pastas, different cheeses, spices, etc. I often will bake a whole shank ham (so I can use the bone for some tasty beans) and dice up part of the ham for this pasta dish. If I don’t have a whole ham cooked, I will buy some extra thick cut ham from the deli instead. Either one is just fine.
Just remember to salt the water when cooking the pasta and taste and add SALT to the final dish. Without salt, the human taste bud is unable to taste the ingredients. Don’t be afraid of salting, as this is one of the biggest mistakes most beginning cooks will make over and over again. You have a great recipe, but because you don’t add SALT, the flavor is not realized in the finished dish. Taste, taste, taste as you are cooking a recipe and adjust!
I’m always about making a recipe YOURS by customizing base ingredients and spices. Take this to a family reunion or pot luck, and they will be asking everyone around “who brought this?” When I make this, everyone wants leftovers! Guaranteed my dears and HEY, what is YOUR favorite pasta salad recipe? Keep cooking for love and please feel free to comment!
Revised Icebox Macaroni Salad
2 C. pasta of choice, cooked al dente (I prefer small shell)
1/4 C. purple onion, minced
1 1/2 C. cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, cubed
1/2 C. celery, diced
1 1/2 C. frozen peas, thawed and drained
2 C. Ham, diced, fresh or deli
1/2-3/4 C. mayo
2 Tbsp. fresh dill (or 2 tsp. dried)
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and chill. Serve and wait for the rave reviews! Adjust the cheese and ham in regards to whether or not you are serving this as a “main dish” or side dish.