It’s a simple and easy pasta salad, you say.
And you would be right, it is.
But to me, every bite is so much more.
To me, a mere taste transports me back to those endless, sunburnt, childhood days of summer.
At grandma’s house.
Everything was exciting and new and different… at grandma’s house.
There was always a scorching summer sun… on that side of the mountains.
The gravel lanes were dusty and intriguing… to a child of suburbia.
Trees reached to the sky in endless orchards groves… and forever grassy meadows.
Skippers were unheard of and somewhat scary insects that hopped irrigation ditches along the rocky roads in grandma’s town.
And if we were lucky… we could catch them in our hands for a few seconds before skipping away.
Cousins became everyday playmates and complicit adventurers in the childhood games of summer; hopscotch, tree climbing, grasshopper catching, mudpie making, and fellow actors in our endless summer plays.
And picnics. It wouldn’t be summer without picnics… at grandma’s house.
In my memory, there were always two kinds of salads. Potato salad and pasta salad. Perhaps they were the only ones I liked.
Through the years the pasta salad of my memory has morphed and adapted and changed. I think it may have been my mom who added the carrots.
While I’ve never had a recipe for this summer pasta salad I begin craving in early June, this is close.
So close that with every delicious, perfect bite, I travel back in time to those glorious days of summer… at grandma’s house.
Just like Grandma used to make, this easy summer pasta salad is perfect for cookouts, picnics and patio dining. A nostalgic dish that’s just as delicious today as it was those long ago summers.
1 lb small tube-shaped pasta (like Ditalini)
2 medium carrots, shredded
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
chopped fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the pasta and cook according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, shred the carrots.
In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar, and salt until creamy and thoroughly mixed.
When the pasta is cooked, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, and drain. Add the shredded carrots and combine. Fold in the mayonnaise dressing, transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with chopped fresh parsley and, like Grandma always did, sprinkle with paprika. Serve immediately.