Cold Pasta New Orleans Style

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Yield:

    6 to 8

    Servings.

Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

It fascinates me that cold pasta salads have become a fashionable dish sold commercially and made at home. When I was very young, my sister, an excellent cook, was famous for her cold pasta “New Orleans style.” I have always believed that she created the dish and she has never denied it. To make it, you cook thin strands of spaghetti, such as vermicelli or spaghet-tini, to the desired degree of doneness and marinate it with a well-seasoned vinaigrette sauce with garlic. Chill overnight, and add assorted vegetables, such as mushrooms, artichoke hearts, avocado, and cherry tomatoes. The following is my adaptation of her recipe, using mushrooms à la grecque.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound pasta, preferably vermicelli or spaghettini
  • Salt, if desired
  • 1 cup Salad Dressing with Garlic
  • 1 Chicken Cooked in Broth (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 cup homemade Mayonnaise
  • Mushrooms à la Grecque, for garnish
  • 12 small whole cooked beets, for garnish
  • 1 package (9 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 avocado, seeded, peeled, and cut into 16 wedges
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, or an equal number of tomato wedges
  • Chopped scallion(s) for garnish, optional
  • Chopped parsley for garnish, optional

Method

  1. Drop the pasta into boiling salted water and cook to the desired degree of doneness. Do not overcook or the pasta will become mushy. Drain well.
  2. Put the drained pasta into a mixing bowl while still warm and pour one-third of the salad dressing over it. Toss well. Let it cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  3. Remove the chicken meat from the bones. Discard the bones and skin. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces.
  4. Add the chicken to the pasta. Add the mayonnaise and gently toss to blend the ingredients.
  5. Serve the pasta in a mound on a round plate. Garnish as follows: Arrange the mushrooms around the chicken or serve separately. Put the beets, artichoke hearts, and avocado wedges in separate bowls. Add equal parts of the remaining salad dressing to each bowl. Stir each to coat. Arrange these, and the tomatoes, around the pasta. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and parsley, if desired.