On one of our travels this summer P.S. and I found a new BBQ place in Wadena, Minnesota. Called The BBQ Smokehouse, P.S. raved about it for days. He’s a smoked meat kinda man and it was his idea of heaven. We had the daily special of beef brisket on a bun, along with two small sides of baked beans and pasta salad. I must admit I liked the pasta salad best. It had bacon!
The place smelled heavenly, all smoky and stuff. We went back later on our way back through and bought treats to take home like blueberry brats and little blueberry breakfast sausages. We didn’t mean to have a theme but all of our purchases had blueberries in them. (They were excellent, but I didn’t take photos to blog, sorry!)
But that pasta salad was very good. I make a lot of pasta salads, most without a plan. This simple salad appealed to me because it had small pieces of crispy fried bacon. Otherwise it was very simple with just mayo and salt and pepper. I don’t think any other seasoning was used.
Recreating the salad was easy. I used radiatore pasta as that’s what I had on hand. I cooked it up to al dente according to the box directions. Drained and rinsed with cool water to stop the cooking, I placed the pasta in a bowl.
While the pasta cooked I diced up about 6 pieces of thick cut bacon. I used a Pecanwood smoked bacon that is a milder flavored smoke. When the bacon was crispy and browned I scooped it onto a few sheets of paper toweling to drain and cool. I wasn’t sure what else was in the pasta salad but decided some chopped celery would be a good addition.
The only other vegetable I wanted in the salad were peas and unfortunately I was out of frozen peas. I drained a can of peas and added them to my salad. I’d have rather had the color and texture of frozen peas but, well, was too lazy to run to the store I mid-salad making.
I added some mayo and milk to a bowl along with salt and pepper and whisked until it was smooth. Again, I kept it simple and didn’t add any other seasonings. I stirred it into the salad and my salad was done.
The salad was refrigerated overnight and by dinnertime a lot of the dressing had been absorbed into the pasta. Perfect! I stirred the salad one more time and served it with grilled three cheese chicken brats for our meal. It was as I remembered it, a nice little touch of bacon in a simple pasta salad. The slight crunch of a piece of celery now and then gave it a nice texture.
The salad probably won’t win any awards but it’s a good side dish to have ready to eat during the summer grilling months. With most ingredients usually on hand in the fridge and pantry, it’s what I’d call a go to salad!
Pasta Salad with Bacon
1 box pasta; prepared according to box directions for al dente (I used radiatore)
6-7 strips thick cut bacon; diced
1 cup frozen peas (I used a can of peas, drained)
1/4 cup celery; chopped finely
2 cups mayo
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare past and drain; rinse with cold water to stop cooking process and set aside in large bowl
In a skillet fry diced bacon until brown and crispy. Set aside to drain on paper towelling.
In a bowl add mayo, milk, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk well.
Add cooled bacon, peas and celery to pasta. Stir well.
Pour mayo mixture over salad and again stir well. Store in container in the fridge overnight and stir again before serving.