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The Best Shrimp Pasta Salad
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The Best Shrimp Pasta Salad

The Best Shrimp Pasta Salad is called best for a reason. Use as many vegetables as you desire and top with creamy homemade dressing for the most hearty and satisfying pasta salad ever!
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword easy pasta, easy recipe, pasta, salad, shrimp

Equipment

  • large skillet
  • rimmed baking sheet
  • rack

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta, your favorite variety
  • 1-2 pounds extra-large 21-25 shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails discarded
  • 2 cups asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about ¾ pound)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained, chopped or ½ cup of peppers, any color, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 cup red onion, chopped or diced

Instructions

  • In a large pot cook pasta according to package directions until it is al dente, around 7 minutes.
  • Then, before draining the water add shrimp and asparagus and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Using a measuring cup scoop out about ⅓ of a cup of the pasta water and set aside for later.
  • Cook the shrimp until pink or in a perfect C shape. If they're straight, they're likely undercooked. If an O shape, they're overcooked.
  • Drain pasta mixture in the sink in a colander with cold water running over top of it. You need to cool the pasta and shrimp down. I usually place a bowl under the colander, after all of the boiling water has gone down the drain and let it fill with cold water. Allow the colander contents to sit in the cold water until cold. I usually just let the cold water run over top of the colander and bowl and overflow down into the sink. My friend, who makes this salad all of the time, doesn’t let her cold water run continuously. Instead she throws some ice cubes in the cold water that the pasta is sitting in. Both ways will cool the pasta down and stop it all from continuing to cook. You can’t combine the pasta with the dressing until it is totally cooled down.
  • Once pasta mixture is cool drain again in the sink.
  • Next I wipe out the bowl I just had the cold water in and put a few slices of paper towel on the bottom. I dump the contents of the colander inside the bowl, on top of the paper towel. I then use some more paper towel to pat dry the top of the pasta mixture. The goal here is to remove as much water as possible from the pasta before combining it with the dressing. I have also used a clean dish rowel to accomplish this as well.

Dressing

  • In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer, combine feta or goat cheese, mayonnaise, roasted peppers or peppers, garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¾ teaspoon pepper and blend until smooth. Add some reserved pasta water to thin the dressing to your desired level. I usually don’t add more than ¼ cup.

Making the Salad

  • Pour dried pasta mixture into a large bowl. Add corn, tomatoes, onions and stir gently until blended.
  • Last, add your dressing and stir gently until coated. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Notes

I believe this recipe has been adapted from CooksCountry.