People always asked me "Where did you learn to cook?" In all honesty, I am the least talented cook in my family. I come from a slightly food obsessed clan who has given me some really good ideas on how to make each meal delicious.
Most of the things I know how to cook or like to cook come from my family. My Aunt Cathi is an especially good cook. She is outlandishly talented. For my bridal shower and my cousin's baby shower she made the best pasta salad ever.
Why did I never think to put a cheese filled pasta in pasta salad? After you try this, you will be thinking the same thing. It is so good, it is stupid. I do a few things differently than the original recipe. Aunt Cathi adds in lots of tasty black olives, but my husband does not prefer them so I leave them out. Also, she uses elegant tortellini, while I like the plump and extra cheese filled ravioli.
This has become one of my favorite summer dinners. Aunt Cathi's is still much better, but the imitation is pretty tasty too!
1 1/2 pounds small frozen ravioli
2 cups of chicken, shredded
1 to 2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 small cucumber, chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 to 2/3 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped finely (optional)
Boil the frozen ravioli for about 8 minutes, or however long your selected type requires. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, this makes quite a caldron of pasta salad!
I like to start with 1/3 cup of dressing and let the salad sit for a minute or two. The dressing will cause all the veggies to release a bit of liquid. Sometimes it needs a touch more dressing, and other times it doesn't.
Once the ravioli has cooled, drain this and run it under cold water, this helps chill the cheese filled rounds for the salad. Add these to the other ingredients and chill for about an hour.
After letting the salad chill, taste it to check for seasonings. It may need a bit more dressing and a shake or two of salt and pepper.
This is wonderful for lunch, dinner, picnics, potlucks, or even eaten straight out of the bowl on the couch. Try this out and you will love it!