Some of the best memories of summertime include family barbecues or picnics with classic American fare like corn on the cob, fried chicken and potato salad. When I saw this recipe by Wicked Good Dinner‘s Chef Dawn Viola, it immediately reminded me of my mom’s macaroni salad she would make just about every summer. The memories of hot summer days and swimming with friends came flooding back. Good food can add to the sensory experience that helps us recall those carefree childhood experiences.
Dawn grew up in an Italian family with different food experiences. Macaroni salad was an adventure for her and she recalls a cute story of her first truly “American” picnic as a girl. While Dawn was researching recipes, she found the dressing to be similar but the vegetables varied depending on the region. Some recipes called for red and green peppers, while others incorporated green peas, cucumbers or even sweet pickles. The recipe below incorporates Dawn’s favorites; substitutions and additions are welcomed. I like to make a slightly spicy version with roasted chile peppers. What I truly love about this recipe is she makes her own homemade mayonnaise… something everyone should do at least once.
Other inspiring summer recipes:
Classic Picnic Macaroni Salad Recipe
Yield: Serves 10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Allergy info: soy-free; contains wheat, gluten, eggs
1 lb. dry elbow macaroni
1 cup homemade mayonnaise
3/4 cup minced red onion (about 1 medium)
3/4 cup diced carrot, 1/8-inch (about 3 carrots)
3/4 cup diced celery, 1/8-inch (about 2 large stalks)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook macaroni 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander, rinse under cool running water 2 minutes. Drain and transfer macaroni to a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the mayonnaise, stir to combine. Cover, refrigerate 30 minutes.
Remove macaroni from refrigerator. In the same bowl add remaining mayonnaise, onion, carrot, celery, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Using a large soon, gently mix to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold.
Food safety note:
Because this recipe contains mayonnaise, it should be kept cold at all times. If serving outdoors, place the bowl of macaroni salad in a larger bowl of ice, set on ice packs, or keep inside an ice-filled cooler.
Photo and Recipe Credit: Chef Dawn Viola, Wicked Good Dinner