Recipe Review

I Tried Grossy Pelosi’s Cherished Family Pasta Salad, and It Totally Exceeded My Expectations

published Jun 2, 2023
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Grossy Pelosi's Family Pasta salad in bowl (salami, cheese cubes, olives, tomatoes, pasta, herbs)
Credit: Justine Lee

Aside from ice cream, few foods are more perfectly catered to summertime happiness than big, cold salads — we’re talking potato salad, egg salad, chicken salad, caprese, coleslaw, or a family recipe that’s been passed down from one generation to the next. Dan Pelosi, who’s known as Grossy Pelosi, takes his most cherished family pasta salad recipe to new delicious heights with more of this and more of that, while still making it taste like summers spent at home. And this is how his recipe for Pelosi Family Pasta Salad came to be. Because I love pasta salad and I love Dan Pelosi’s welcoming, non-stuffy approach to cooking, I knew this pasta salad recipe was one worth trying. 

How to Make Grossy Pelosi’s Pelosi Family Pasta Salad

Making this pasta salad is simple and sparks more joy with every step. Cook tri-color rotini pasta, drain, place in a large bowl, toss in olive oil, and send it to the fridge to cool. Then you’ll make the dressing by whisking together olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, salt, pepper, spicy mustard, and minced garlic. Let the dressing sit so that “the flavors get to know each other,” Dan says. Meanwhile, halve cherry tomatoes lengthwise and place them on a paper towel cut-side down to pull out excess juice from the tomatoes. Once that’s done, prepare the remaining ingredients: drain and chop canned black olives, tear basil leaves, cube provolone cheese, chop pepperoncini, and dice Genoa salami.

Now dump the raw ingredients in the bowl with the pasta. Give the dressing a final whisk, pour over the pasta salad, and stir to combine. Season the salad to taste with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and let cool before serving. 

Credit: Justine Lee

My Honest Review of Grossy Pelosi’s Pelosi Family Pasta Salad 

I had a feeling this pasta salad was going to be great, but it totally exceeded my expectations. This salad is fully LOADED. Last year, I tested and ultimately fell in love with Foods of Jane’s Grinder Sandwich Pasta Salad, and Dan’s take on his family recipe had a similar loaded sandwich vibe. There was an almost equal ratio of noodles to mix-ins, which made every stacked forkful meaty, cheesy, and briny to the nth degree. 

The dressing was zesty and delightfully garlicky (it does use 6 cloves of garlic, after all!), and I love how it slicked the pasta with a glossy summer look without being too oily to eat. The Pelosi Family Pasta Salad is definitely a fun big-batch recipe I will whip up for impromptu picnics in the park, or prep at the start of a work week to enjoy for lunch. 

If You’re Making Grossy Pelosi’s Pelosi Family Pasta Salad, a Few Tips 

  • Cut your own cheese. To make the absolute best batch of this recipe, buy a whole block of provolone and cut into thick cubes. Deli-sliced provolone is too soft and has no place in this sturdy salad. 
  • Season more aggressively than you would a hot pasta. Food has less flavor at colder temperatures. As downright delicious as this pasta salad has the potential to be, common mistakes  — like not enough seasoning — can easily make things go south. I recommend that you season well every step of the way, and round it out with a final few pinches of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. And with that, don’t wait until the pasta is fully cooled to season it.