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~ The Retro & Original Wish-Bone Italian Pasta Salad ~

IMG_1685Wish-Bone Italian dressing.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  To name a few: drizzled on my garden salad or slathered on my turkey sandwich, as a dip for my vegetables, as a marinade for my chicken, and, as the dressing for the original Wish-Bone Italian pasta salad recipe.  Growing up, right next to the bright- red Kraft Catalina Dressing  and the creamy-white Hellmann's mayonnaise stood the Wish-Bone.  All were condiment staples in my mom's 1960's and 70's refrigerator, and today, all remain staples in my own refrigerator -- although I now prefer Wish-Bone's Light-Italian version.  Want a creamy version of Wish-Bone Italian or want to tone down the tomatoey Catalina a bit?  Do what mom did -- stir a bit of Hellmann's into either.   

Wish-Bone dressing got its start in Kansas City at the Wish-Bone restaurant.

IMG_1755In 1945, returning World War II veteran, Phillip Sollomi opened a family-style chicken restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, naming it: The Wish-Bone.  His restaurant was an immediate success, and, in 1945, Phillip and The Wish-Bone found their true calling.  Phil debuted his mother's salad dressing, a recipe she brought from her native Sicily. The clientele loved it it, and, before long, Phil was mixing the dressing in a 50-gallon drum and pouring it into bottles as fast as his mother could slap on the iconic label:  "The Kansas City Wish-Bone Famous Italian-Style Dressing."  It became so popular throughout the heartland that, in 1957, Phillip sold the business to Lipton, where his family's tradition of authentic ingredients and exceptional flavor remains in the bottle today.

My mom always made pasta salad for Memorial Day.  It was classic 1960's-style -- rotini pasta with some cubed salami, pepperoni and American cheese, sliced black olives, diced onion and tomato dressed with store-bought Wish-Bone Italian dressing.  It wasn't gourmet, it wasn't even particularly exciting to look at, but, because it was prepared correctly, it was remarkably delicious, and, I am 99.99% sure she followed the recipe that was printed on the back of the box of San Georgio rotini (spiral) pasta which was:  The Original Wish-Bone Italian Pasta Salad recipe. 

A bit about pasta salad:  It's a dish prepared with one or more types of al dente cooked pasta tossed in a highly-flavored vinegar-, oil-, or mayonnaise-based dressing.  Besides the pasta, almost anything (raw, marinated or cooked via any manner) can be added to pasta salad:  fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood, cheese, nuts, seeds, and/or herbs (to name a few).  Pasta salad is served chilled as an appetizer, a side-dish or a main course for brunch, lunch or dinner. While it can be served any time of the year, it's particularly popular in the Spring and Summer.

When properly prepared, pasta salad is awesome.

Il_570xN.1025944851_ns1tIt's the perfect ratio of pasta to add-ins to dressing.

IMG_16701  pound fork-friendly rotini-shaped pasta (spiral)

~ Step 1.  In an 8-quart stockpot bring 5-quarts water to a boil and cook pasta al dente (according to package directions) for 9-11 minutes.  Transfer pasta to a colander and rinse under cold water to remove starch and halt the cooking process, then, allowed to remain in colander and drain thoroughly  (to a moisture free state), about 15-30 minutes.  

IMG_16661 1/2-2 pounds (3-4 total cups) assorted bite-sized, fork-friendly slices or cubes of cut-up Italian-cured meats, cheese and veggies (recommended are pepperoni, hard salami, American or mozzarella cheese, sliced black olives, diced tomato, red onion; additional options or substitutions include  green and/or red bell peppers or small, blanched broccoli and/or cauliflower florets)

IMG_16721-1 1/2  cups Wish-Bone Italian 

~ Step 2.  Place pasta and add-in ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the dressing, a little at a time, while using a large rubber spatula to toss, until ingredients are coated and no dressing is puddling in the bottom of bowl.  If preparing a day ahead, refrigerate, then stir in 1/4-1/2 cup additional dressing at serving time. Note:  For a creamy pasta salad, substitute 1/2-3/4 cup mayonnaise for 1/2 cup-3/4 cup Italian Dressing.

Chilled or at room-temperature, enjoy the pasta salad season:

IMG_1685The Retro & Original Wish-Bone Italian Pasta Salad: Recipe yields approximately 16 cups of pasta salad/12, 1 1/2 cup servings. 

Special Equipment List: 8-quart stockpot; colander; cutting board; chef's knife; large rubber spatula; plastic wrap (optional)

6a0120a8551282970b019104f398f4970cCook's Note:  The definition for French dressing/salad dressing:  1) an oil-and-vinegar combination, seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs, or, 2) a commercial American dressing that is creamy, tartly sweet and red-orange in color.  The latter is the dressing that captivated my younger brother David during his teen years.  It was manufactured by Kraft Foods and named Catalina.  He would drench large chunks of iceberg lettuce with it.  As an adult, I too found myself using copious amounts of it to dress a spinach salad.  ~ Try My Homemade All-American Catalina Dressing ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)


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