While I love the variety one can have with pasta salads for the summertime, I still often find myself coming back to traditional macaroni salad, especially on weeknights. Maybe this is because it’s kind of comforting–I grew up eating it on the patio with the family; it’s also because it’s inexpensive and easy. While I love feta cheese and numerous veggies in a good pasta salad, I also love to get by on the cheap. That’s when I turn to my old pal, macaroni salad.
I made this for two of us, with leftovers–it would feed four or five as a side, and can be easily doubled or tripled.
Start by boiling, together, a little less than a half a box (half a pound, that is) of elbow macaroni and a couple of eggs. My elbows were said to cook in eight minutes, so I put the eggs in first (they usually take nine). As always, I broke the shell, so there was a whisp of white in the water. When both are done, drain, rinse with cold water, remove the shells, and rinse some more. If I were smart I’d do this hours before dinner so the cold water rinse would be unnecessary, but I made this at about 5:30 last night.
Dice up half a cucumer, about a quarter of an onion, and, once they’re cold, your eggs. You could also add celery here, or maybe carrot, or whatever floats your boat.
For the dressing, I mixed about a tablespoon of spicy mustard, a little over a 1/4 c of light mayo, a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (white or red wine would also work here). To that I added a pinch of kosher salt, a couple grinds of pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes (I’ve learned the hard way not to shake the jar over a bowl), and a good pinch of Green Goddess salad dressing herbs from Penzey’s Spices, one of hte most fantastic spice resources on the planet. According to the site, Green Goddess contains “green onion, sugar, basil, celery flakes, minced garlic and dill weed,” but you could easily sub any similar combination of herbs, dried or fresh, in your dressing. Taste it as you go along–you might want more spice, more vinegar, more salt.
I add the dressing to the pasta only right before serving, as the pasta tends to suck it all up and lose a lot of the vinegar tang. The next day, as I munch on the leftovers, I usually add a little bit more vinegar and a tad more salt to perk it up.
This salad is great with burgers or anything else you pop onto the grill.