Here’s the Truth About Martha Stewart’s Pasta Salad
When it came time to choose contenders for our pasta salad recipe showdown, I wanted to see if Martha Stewart knows best (as she often does). Her recipe looked to have all the best parts of an Italian chopped salad — tomatoes, fennel, chickpeas, and two types of cheese — and the “zingy lemon vinaigrette” sounded perfect for a summery salad.
There were also a few surprising elements I was eager to try out. Since pasta salad is typically served chilled, I was surprised to see that Martha actually calls for hers to be served at room temperature 30 minutes after making it. She also calls for letting the pasta rest on a baking sheet along with the dressing before any produce gets added, which is unlike any other pasta salad recipe I’ve seen. Here’s what happened when I gave it a try.
How to Make Martha Stewart’s Pasta Salad
Place garlic and salt on a cutting board and use the back of a chefs’ knife to mash it into a paste. Add the paste to a small bowl along with the lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then whisk to combine. Add the tomatoes to a large fine-mesh sieve fitted over a bowl, toss with salt, and let stand for 15 minutes.
Cook the pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. Drain, then transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Add half the dressing to the pasta and toss to combine, making sure the pasta is in an even layer. Combine the fennel, capers, chickpeas, mozzarella, salted tomatoes, and the rest of the dressing in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the pasta and toss to combine, then refrigerate for up to one day. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before serving, then stir in the Parmesan and parsley.
My Honest Review of Martha Stewart’s Pasta Salad
I had high hopes for this recipe. I love all the add-ins, I thought the techniques sounded interesting, and well, it’s Martha. But unfortunately, this pasta salad was incredibly lackluster.
While the addition of fennel added a nice crunch, and I loved the cubes of mozzarella, the real issue here was that this pasta salad was incredibly bland. The lack of acid made the whole thing taste one-note. Even with a generous showering of Parm, the dish lacked flavor. I felt like it needed three times the amount of dressing in order to have anything close to that classic pasta salad tang. Although it might taste better with a few adjustments, I won’t be making this one as is again.
If You’re Making Martha Stewart’s Pasta Salad, a Few Tips
- Triple the dressing. This pasta salad lacks flavor, so boost the amount of dressing to add some much-needed acid.
- Plan accordingly. Unlike most pasta salad recipes, this one requires a fair amount of planning: You need to allow time to salt the tomatoes and let the pasta rest on a baking sheet before tossing it together.
Overall Rating: 5/10
Have you tried Martha Stewart’s pasta salad recipe? Let us know in the comments!