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Carol's Pasta Salad with Herb Vinaigrette

This has been a staple in our family for years, and every time we serve it, it draws raves.  I don't why it hasn't made into my cookbook until now, probably because dear wife always makes it, and I just haven't thought about it.  But, finally, here it is, and it's truly worth the wait.

pound dry tortellini (we usually use cheese filled)
pound dry rotini
~ cup chopped pimentos
~ cup sliced black pitted olives
~ cup finely diced chives
Vinaigrette (see note)  
cup white wine vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried crushed basil
teaspoon dried crushed tarragon
teaspoon dry mustard
pinch of cayenne

Prepare the pastas according to package directions,  The pasta should be fairly well cooked, otherwise it will absorb too much of the vinaigrette, leaving the salad dry.

While the pasta is cooking prepare the vinaigrette.  Put the vinegar and all ingredients, except the oil, into a blender and whir until blended.  With the blender still running slowly add the oil in a steady stream until completely mixed and emulsified.

Once the pasta has cooled toss with one half of the vinaigrette (reserving the remaining one half until just before serving) and place in the fridge.  It should chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours (and up to overnight) while tossing occasionally to redistribute the vinaigrette.  When ready to serve mix in the remaining vinaigrette, and toss to thoroughly combine.

Notes:

For a quicker version Carol recommends replacing the vinaigrette with an equal amount (about a cup and a half) of Seven Seas Viva Italian salad dressing, adjusting seasonings to taste.

 

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