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Recipe for a Crowd: Summer Pasta Salad

Updated: Jan 17

Pepperoni Pasta Salad With Mozzarella and Pesto

a mixing bowl full of pepperoni pasta salad with mozzarella and pesto
Recipe for a Crowd: Summer Pasta Salad

Our late neighbor, Jim, was a talented hobbyist chef and would often share his creations with us following the passing of his wife with whom he shared a beautiful life for more than 50 years. This summer pasta salad one of our favorites and something I like to make often, especially when in Corolla. It's easy to prepare, yields a lot, and is bursting with Italian flavors the whole family enjoys. Most of all, it reminds me of our sorely missed friend who was so endearing and inspired us in many ways. This recipe was originally published in Parade magazine, but we've since put our own simplified spin on it.

Summer Pasta Salad: Pepperoni Pasta Salad With Mozzarella and Pesto


  • 1 lb tube-shape pasta (we prefer cavatappi)

  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, diced (we use the mini pearls)

  • ¾ cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced

  • ½ lb pepperoni, diced (we substitute the mini slices when we can find them)

  • 1 ½ cups prepared basil pesto (we prefer the refrigerated style with Parmesan already added, either Kirkland or Rana)

  • Grated Parmesan (optional)

  • Fresh basil, for garnish (optional)


  1. Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well; cool.

  2. In a large bowl, combine pasta, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, olives, pepperoni, and pesto.

  3. Sprinkle with Parmesan and garnish with fresh basil if desired.

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