This classic macaroni salad is another treasure from my grandmother’s collection. It’s easy and just a little different from the norm.
I’ve written a lot over the last three years about my grandparents and their influence on me-just overall as well as on my cooking. My grandmother had many signature dishes (like this strawberry pie and this breakfast casserole) and I grew up watching her cook dinner nearly every night (we ate at their house more nights than not because my mom didn’t get home from work until dinnertime).
The strange thing is that there are lots of things that other people mention that my grandmother was known for of which I have no recollection, like tomatoes and artichokes, chicken stuffed with shrimp (now that’s a decadent dish!), and this classic macaroni salad. I guess they’re just things that I didn’t really eat as a kid, but it still seems strange to me that I don’t remember them.
My grandmother passed away when I was fourteen and when my grandfather passed away when I was twenty-one I got my grandmother’s recipe books and a recipe card file that belonged to my great-grandmother. I remember going through them and not recognizing too many of the recipes…but over the years people have mentioned recipes to me and asked if I had a copy of them. I had my grandmother’s bright orange recipe book on my shelf but never could seem to find the recipes that people asked about.
The strangest thing happened in May. Philip had to clean out the basement closet (because we had too have a termite treatment-ick!) and pulled out a box of “stuff” that had been there since we moved in 2002. I figured it was a bunch of junk that we didn’t want anymore (and some of it was) but I found some dishes of my grandparents’….and the recipe book. And the card file. Recipes people had been asking about? There they were. Treasure. I nearly cried. But instead…I’m going to share those recipes with you. This classic macaroni salad is up first.
For many years I wouldn’t touch pasta salad with a ten-foot pole. Languishing on salad bars it always looked heavy and a little greasy and made me cringe. When a friend brought a tortellini and balsamic pasta salad to a work potluck I changed my perspective on pasta salads but still had trouble finding a recipe that I loved to make. This is it. I’ve scaled the recipe down from my grandmother’s (sixteen servings!!!) and pickled the onions. The dill pickles and the cheddar cheese add a little flair to the salad, and the sour cream, mayo, and mashed egg yolk dressing is just a little unexpected.
Add this classic macaroni salad to your repertoire. Trust me. My grandmother knew what she was doing.
Yield: 6 servings
20 minPrep Time:
10 minCook Time:
30 minTotal Time:
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ½ small onion, finely diced
- 5 ounces small shell or elbow pasta
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/3 cup cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 Kosher pickle or 4 gherkin dills, diced
- 4 ounces cheddar cheese, diced
- 1 stalk celery, cleaned and diced
- ½ bell pepper (any color), diced
- Place the onion in a bowl and cover with the vinegar. Refrigerate until you are ready to mix the pasta salad-at least 30 minutes.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside until cool.
- Remove the yolks from the hard-boiled eggs (save the whites for another use, or have a snack). Mash the yolks. Combine the mashed yolks, mayonnaise, sour cream, dry mustard, and seasoned salt.
- Place the cooled pasta into a large bowl and add the pickles, cheese, celery, and bell pepper. Drain the onion and add to the bowl. Pour the dressing over and mix to combine. Adjust seasonings. Chill until ready to serve.