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By Chef John
June 09, 2021
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No matter what pasta shape you use, or which ingredients you add, as far as I'm concerned there's only one proper technique for building what we're modestly calling the "Perfect Picnic Pasta Salad." Sorry, I normally try to under-promise and over-deliver, but I couldn't help myself. Plus, no one can prove this isn't "perfect," so there's that.

Anyway, I've been to my fair share of picnics, cookouts, and barbecues, and it's been my experience that the most disappointing side dish at these types of events is almost always the pasta salad. We've all seen that virtually full bowl sitting next to the almost empty bowls of mayo-dressed macaroni and potato salad, and while folks might take a spoonful out of politeness, they rarely go back for more. There are many reasons for this.

They're usually undercooked, underdressed, under-seasoned, and not nearly acidic enough. Also, the non-pasta ingredients are usually large chunks of raw vegetables, which simply fall to the bottom of the bowl. When I take a forkful of pasta salad, I want to taste everything in one bite. Is that too much to ask? I hope not, and by following the procedure in this video that's exactly what will happen. Enjoy!

Get the recipe for Chef John's Perfect Picnic Pasta Salad.

Chef John's perfect picnic pasta salad
Credit: Chef John

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