Food & Drink

Recipe Mailbox: This do-ahead dish is great for potlucks

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Pasta chicken salad

Prep time: 1 hour, 15 minutes Serves 6 to 8

Ann Arn of Glendora enjoyed a pasta salad that included chicken, and artichoke hearts. She was hoping for a recipe.

I have made this salad for years to rave reviews. It’s a great do-ahead dish to serve company or to bring to a potluck.

Dressing:

1 cup olive oil

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons capers, drained, rinsed

1½ teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon minced garlic, more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil, optional

Salad:

1 bunch broccoli

½ pound corkscrew pasta, cooked al dente, drained, chilled

1 red bell pepper, cored, cut into 1-inch pieces

One 15-ounce can pitted, medium, black olives, drained, rinsed well, patted dry

One 15-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts in brine, drained, rinsed, patted dry

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached in boiling water until no longer pink in center, about 10 minutes (cut to check), cubed, chilled

1 to 1½ cups smoked mozzarella cheese, cubed

¾ cup pine nuts

Cherry tomatoes and avocados, optional garnish

Dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a large jar with tight-fitting lid. Shake well and refrigerate.

Salad: Peel broccoli stems and cut into ½-inch thick pieces. Divide florets into 1 inch pieces. Steam stems and florets separately in batches until crisp-tender. Transfer to colander and run under cold water until cooled completely. Pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to large serving bowl.

Add cooked, chilled pasta to bowl. Add red bell pepper, black olives, artichoke hearts. Stir to combine. Add cooked, cubed, chilled chicken breasts and mozzarella cheese cubes.

Toast pine nuts by placing them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, until fragrant and brown. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Cool pine nuts then add to serving bowl. Add dressing and mix very well. Top salad with halved cherry tomatoes and avocado slices, if desired. Chill well before serving.

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