Some might say that you haven’t lived until you’ve had a muffuletta sandwich at its birthplace: Central Grocery in New Orleans.
For those of you who have yet to live (dramatic,right?), a Muffuletta is a sandwich made when a soft loaf of Italian bread is topped with olive spread, a pickled Italian vegetable medley called giardiniera, salami, mortadella, ham, and provolone. The sandwich is also often has parsley, vinegar, and olive oil, and is pressed together to marry the flavors. It’s a dang good sandwich. There’s no denying it. The muffuletta was made popular back when New Orleans was just a youngin’ by the lunch habits of Italian immigrants, and ooooh how thankful we are for (among other things) their sandwich sensibilities.
Before I dive into full-blown muffuletta-land, I’m doing to tinker around with a pasta salad version. There’s lots of chopping and cubing. It’s meditative, don’t fight it. I cubed salami, ham, roasted chicken, and provolone. Crisp celery and raw onions and garlic for kick. Olives.. a lot, and sliced. Parsley and dried spices. Dignified and delicious, all of it!
Pasta talk. It’s like pillow talk but with more carbs.
I used a medium-size shell pasta. A spiral would be nice. Use whatever makes you feel right on the inside.
I found the largest mixing bowl I have. It’s a step down from the punch bowl I inherited from my parents’ wedding. I don’t know what that has to do with anything, but that’s alright.
Sharp parsley, salty olives, lots of meat and cheese, and yessss to pasta too! It’s all very good news.
Before I toss the salad, I shake up a spicy vinaigrette in a mason jar. My vinaigrette has apple cider vinegar and sriracha. Lots of tang and spice.
This pasta salad is all of the things! Salty, spicy, crunchy, filling, and just dang delicious. It’s a nice end-of-summer pot luck situation. Also bring doughnuts and you’ll be the most popular person in the world… after me. I’m pretty popular (because of the doughnuts). Kidding. Seriously.
Adapted just so from Emeril’s recipe.
You might also consider adding finely chopped carrots and capers.Print
New Orleans and Emeril inspired Muffuletta Pasta Salad is satisfying and feeds a small army! Great to take to a potluck!
- Muffuletta Pasta Salad
- For the Salad:
- 1 pound pasta shells, cooked until soft and drained
- 1 small onion, chopped finely (a heaping 1/2 cup)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 4 – 1/4-inch slices dry salami, cut into small cubes
- 3 – 1/4-inch thick slices boiled ham, cut into small cubes
- 3 – 1/4-inch thick slices roasted chicken, cut into small cubes
- 3 – 1/4-inch thick slices provolone cheese, cut into small cubes
- pitted black olives, sliced
- pitted green olives, sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- For the Vinaigrette:
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 6 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- hot sauce or sriracha, to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- shredded Parmesan to top
- Drain pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Add onions, garlic, celery, parsley and dried herbs. Toss to combine.
- Add cubed meats and cheese, sliced olives, and a bit of salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
- In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine olive oil, vinegar, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and salt and pepper. Place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously. Taste and add more salt and pepper as necessary. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the pasta salad and toss. Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Toss and serve chilled!
- Serving Size: 6 servings