Muffaletta Pasta Salad

Grab some beads and celebrate Mardi Gras with this tasty Muffaletta Pasta Salad!

Grab some beads and celebrate Mardi Gras with this tasty Muffaletta Pasta Salad!So my wife and I have been catching up on old episodes of The Sopranos lately.  And yes, I am aware that show ended years ago…so by catching up, I mean watching them for the first time.  Somehow we missed this entire show when it originally aired, but now we have a Netflix account…so there’s no better time than the present to catch up on 10-year-old shows!

All of the mob and Italian references in The Sopranos totally reminds me of my wife’s family.  I mean I don’t think they’re in the mob…but there is a door in their basement that I have no idea where it leads.  I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if the other side opened into Satriale’s Pork Store or Bada Bing.  Aside from all of the late 90’s clothes, one of the things I’ve found most humorous about The Soprano’s is all of the Italian slang.  There’s “gabagool” for capicola and “rigaht” for ricotta.  Because those phrases sound so much like the original, right?

Grab some beads and celebrate Mardi Gras with this tasty Muffaletta Pasta Salad!But here’s the thing.  Rigaht isn’t unique to The Sopranos.  My father-in-law totally refers to ricotta as rigaht.  He grew up in an Italian household, and ricotta was just rigaht.  And capicola was gabagool.  And prosciutto was pruhzhoot.  And mozzarella was mutzadell.  I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried!  And now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure my father-in-law is related to Tony Soprano somehow.

All of this talk about Italian meats and cheeses reminds me of the classic New Orleans muffaletta.  This sandwich is iconic to the Crescent City, and it’s quite delicious.  It’s loaded with Italian meats, but most importantly, a good muffaletta features a tasty olive spread.  When my wife and I last visited New Orleans (which was sadly about 6 years ago now), we totally grabbed a muffaletta from Central Grocery and sat on the banks of the Mississippi with our sandwiches.  And a bag of Zapp’s potato chips and an Abita beer, of course.

Grab some beads and celebrate Mardi Gras with this tasty Muffaletta Pasta Salad!I posted my take on the muffaletta a while back when I first started this blog.  In honor of Mardi Gras this year, I decided to recreate that muffaletta…in pasta salad form.  Truthfully, this Muffaletta Pasta Salad is just a slight twist off of this Antipasto Salad, but that pasta salad is still one of our favorites around here…so I figured why not adjust it slightly to reflect the muffaletta.  One of the key changes is the addition of more olives.  A muffaletta starts with a good olive spread.  So this Muffaletta Pasta Salad needed to start with a bunch of olives.

Grab some beads and celebrate Mardi Gras with this tasty Muffaletta Pasta Salad!Olives.  I used to hate ’em.  I mean, I wanted to like them out of principle…but I just didn’t.  But then it all changed a year or two ago…and now I love olives.  I even picked up some blue cheese stuffed olives from the olive bar at our local grocery store the other day.  Blue cheese stuffed olives.  Talk about two things that I would never have touched 5 years ago!  And now I seek them out and hoard them all to myself.

So grab some beads and a mask and celebrate Mardi Gras.  Laissez les bon temps rouler!  (That’s the state motto of Louisiana, and it means “Let the Good Times Roll!”)

Grab some beads and celebrate Mardi Gras with this tasty Muffaletta Pasta Salad!Rigaht or ricotta?

Olives: yay or nay?

Grab some beads and celebrate Mardi Gras with this tasty Muffaletta Pasta Salad!

Muffaletta Pasta Salad

Grab some beads and celebrate Mardi Gras with this tasty Muffaletta Pasta Salad!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 622kcal

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 16 oz. medium shells pasta
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese cubed (see note)
  • 2 ounces hard salami cut into 1” matchsticks
  • ½ medium red onion diced
  • 2 ounces mortadella cut into 1” matchsticks
  • 2 ounces soppressata cut into 1” matchsticks
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 1 cup kalamata olives pitted
  • ¾ cup small green olives pitted
  • 1 cup giardiniera salad drained

For the Vinaigrette

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

For the Salad

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Rinse and drain the pasta in cold water.
  • Transfer pasta to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined.

For the Vinaigrette

  • In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Pour over salad and toss until well coated. Keep salad refrigerated; serve cold.

Notes

Go to the deli counter at your local grocery store to purchase the provolone, salami, mortadella and soppressata. Ask for slices cut ½" thick and then cut slices into cubes at home.
If mortadella and soppressata are not available in your area, feel free to substitute 6 oz. of ham (cubed) instead.

 

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36 Comments

  1. Rigaht, pruhzhoot, and mutzadell – those sound so sassy and Italiano. Perhaps I should start saying those words more often 🙂 Love this salad, it loads with so many colors that screams Let’s Celebrate!

    1. I definitely vote for saying rigaht and mutzadell more often, Linda! You might get some strange looks…that is, unless you come out to the East coast. With all of the Italian influence out here, this is pretty much standard lingo. Hope you had an awesome Mardi Gras! 🙂

      1. Oh my goodness! My grandparents came right fekm Italy and this is exactly how they pronounced this food and how me and my children pronounce it as my grandchildren as well!! Inlove to see were not the only ones!!

        1. Haha! I have totally heard these pronunciations quite a bit. We live in upstate New York, and there’s a large Italian population here. You’re not the only ones at all, Joyce! 🙂

  2. Hi David! I love everything about this salad! We always have a variety of olives on hand – Gary especially likes the blue cheese olives and anchovy olives for martinis! I would love to visit New Orleans – I’ve been a Cajun/Creole food fan since Justin Wilson had a cooking show WAY back when (you are too young to remember him)! 🙂

    1. Ooo…anchovy olives. I might have to draw the line on that one, Dorothy! I love me some olives, but anchovies? Eh. I can’t believe you’ve never visited New Orleans. Put that one on the list. Seriously. It’s an incredible place! (And it’s so much more than the debauchery in the French Quarter that everyone hears about…)

  3. I totally forgot about all that slang in the Sopranos! I loved that show and you are making me want to go back and watch it again. I also love a muffaletta and this pasta salad creation is brilliant! I am huge olive fan and those blue cheese stuffed ones are amazing. Have you tried the giant garlic stuffed ones? They are to die for in a martini!

    1. You should totally go back and watch it again! We’re about 3/4 of the way through the series now, and I’m loving it. Oh, and now you’re making me crave a martini + garlic stuffed olives…and it’s only 9am. Shame on you, Rachelle! 😉

  4. I could go for that salad today! I’m so hungry at the moment. But, seeing that it’s Fat Tuesday, I’m considering a doughnut binge. I totally get what your saying about food names. I grew up in eating ethnic foods, and although I’m as American as anyone, I can’t say the names of those foods in any way other than the way my family did. It would just seem wrong, even if it does seem affected.

    1. A doughnut binge is totally acceptable on Fat Tuesday. Well, I guess to be authentic, it should be a beignet binge. I’ve been meaning to try my hand at making beignets since upstate New York is far from New Orleans…and getting a respectable beignet around here would be darned near impossible. Eh…another day…not during Lent when the Pope is watching me.

  5. Hahaha! I must say I got a good chuckle out of how you segued from mob references to Mrs. Spiced’s father’s diction to New Orleans and this salad, David! Lil Shashi and I are going to a potluck at a friend’s house tonight and someone said they were bringing a pasta salad – that wasn’t y’all by any chance was it? Cos it would be wonderful to sit down to a plate of this! 🙂

    1. Hey, nothing like a good mob story to get you in the mood for some pasta salad, right? 🙂 Too bad we weren’t invited to that potluck because I totally would have been there with this pasta salad…and maybe a king cake for dessert! Hope you and Lil Shashi had fun last night!

    1. Thanks so much, Mary! I’m with you here. Some of my favorite recipes are the classics that have been twisted into new ideas. Bring on the olives! 🙂

    1. Haha I’m with ya, Dawn. I could barely stand olives a few years ago, and now I crave them. Like I make a pitstop by the olive bar at our grocery store whenever I go in. That is so totally unlike me…I was the guy who picked olives out of dishes because I hated them so much. Go figure! 🙂

    1. Hey, I’m only a couple of weeks ahead of you. Ok, maybe a month or two. We didn’t really start watching the Sopranos until sometime around Christmas-ish. This is one tasty pasta salad, and I won’t say anything if you make a double batch of the dressing! 🙂

    1. I totally agree, Manali…there are so many awesome ways to put a twist on a pasta salad. Maybe you can whip up a fun one for a potluck this summer. That way you can enjoy it but the hubby can find other tasty picnic food instead? 🙂

    1. I totally understand that one, Puja! Thank you so much for the kind words still…I appreciate you leaving a comment even though this dish doesn’t call your name. Have a great day! 🙂

  6. One of the best things about reading food blogs is discovering new and interesting foods, and this is a great example! I had no idea what muffaletta was up until now, but a quick search on Google Images has just revealed that it’s bread stuffed with all sorts of delicious things! And now as a bonus, I’ve learnt it’s now it’s available in a delicious, pasta-based version – nice! And it’s pretty interesting that your in-laws are like the Sopranos in the flesh, David (well, minus the killing etc, obviously!). I never really got into the show and I think I only watched the first season, but one thing I did love was their accents. Classic!

    1. Oh yeah! I totally agree with you, Lisa. A muffaletta is an amazing sandwich, and it’s iconic to New Orleans. It’s pretty much a round loaf of French bread stuffed with all sorts of Italian meats. And there’s an olive spread on it that takes this sandwich to a whole new level! And as far as the in-laws being the Sopranos, I just hope they don’t invite me out for any late night car rides. 🙂

  7. So I went to a Mardi Gras party and while they didn’t serve this (which I LOVE- I had one in Brooklyn in a sub and it was beyond amazing)- I had something called a Hawaiian cake.

    Now as for the ricotta debarcle….As long as it tastes good, Ricotta is Ricotta!

        1. Oh man! A good king cake is one of my favorite things about Mardi Gras. But a bad king cake can ruin the holiday. I had a bad king cake from a local grocery store down there in Baton Rouge one time. Terrible! Then I learned how to make my own. I ate the whole thing. Oops.

  8. Oh wow, was this ever delicious! Only change I made was I added a handful of blue cheese stuffed olives. They’re canned and come from Mexico and are delicious! Fed this to a crowd and had some leftover the next day. It only gets better! Thank you for a great recipe!

    1. Awesome! I’m so glad everyone enjoyed this one, Linde. And thank you so much for coming back and commenting, too. That really does mean a lot to me. Oh, and the blue cheese stuffed olives? Excellent idea!! I’m totally doing that next time I make a batch of this pasta salad here. Thanks again! 🙂

    1. Hey Melissa! This pasta salad makes a very large batch, so it all depends on the number of people at your party. This recipe would easily feed 8-10 as a side dish. (I also like to err on the side of having too much food rather than not enough.) This is one of my favorite pasta salads, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 🙂 Thanks!

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