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Weekend Recipe: Antipasto Pasta Salad

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This is one of those recipes that you just know is going to be good. You take your pasta and your meats and your cheeses and you shake it all together and you eat it. America's Test Kitchen has added a couple small touches to make it a little gourmet, but overall it's very easy to make and very satisfying to eat.

Antipasto Pasta Salad
Serves 6 to 8
8 ounces sliced pepperoni, cut into 1/4-inch strips
8 ounces sopresatta or salami, halved and cut into 1/4-inch strips
10 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 jar pepperoncini (12-ounce), drained, (2 tablespoons juice reserved), stemmed, and chopped coarse
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1 pound fusilli or campanelle
1 pound white mushrooms, quartered
1 cup shredded provolone cheese, aged
12 ounces roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry, and chopped coarse
1 cup chopped fresh basil

Place one paper towel on microwave-safe plate. Arrange pepperoni in single layer on paper towel. Cover with another paper towel and layer soppressata on towel. Top with another paper towel and microwave on highest power until meat begins to render fat, about 1 minute. Set meat aside.

Whisk 5 tablespoons vinegar, olive oil, mayonnaise, pepperoncini juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl.

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, return to pot, and toss with 1/2 cup dressing and remaining vinegar. Adjust seasonings, spread dressed pasta on rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring remaining dressing to simmer in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their juices and are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and cool.

Add meat, provolone, roasted red peppers, chopped pepperoncini, basil, and cooled pasta to mushrooms and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature. Salad can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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