Macaroni Salad

The History of Macaroni Salad (Plus a Recipe You’ll Love!)

Macaroni Pasta Salad is an iconic side dish, best served during springtime with the weather is fair. This “grill and chill” dish has a really rich history, and sometimes even richer ingredients. Move over potato salad… let us learn more about Macaroni Salad, and why you should be serving it at your next picnic or barbecue!!


    The History of Macaroni Salad

    The Macaroni pasta shape has a very elusive history, especially because the word macaroni itself can refer to various different types of pasta. Traditionally, macaroni can refer to straight tube shaped pasta, like bucatini but cut into much shorter pieces.

    Today, macaroni is more commonly associated with elbow macaroni pasta, which are short tubes that are usually curved. This is the common pasta used when preparing dishes like the iconic mac and cheese. These pasta shapes have a long history in Italy, and were popularized in America during the early 1900s.

    In fact, Kraft foods introduced boxed macaroni and cheese in 1937 and it surged in popularity due to its low cost and shelf stability. These factors were very important to Americans who were overcoming the Great Depression at the time.

    However, Macaroni Salad is much different than simple Macaroni pasta. While macaroni pasta has Italian origins, Macaroni Salad is strictly American in origin. Some of the earliest reports of traditional “Macaroni Salad” recipes being published date back to 1914. These recipes served the salad on beds of lettuce, in molds like Jell-O and sometimes mixed with other shelf stable foods like canned tuna.

    It has been theorized that Macaroni noodles combined with creamy dressings is America’s melting of two cultures. Macaroni coming from Italian immigrants and mayonnaise based potato salads from German immigrants. 

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    Simple Macaroni Pasta Salad Recipe

    Here’s a simple 15 minute recipe for a macaroni salad that will hit the spot at your next BBQ.

    Macaroni Salad Ingredients:

    • 1 package of Dagostino Penne pasta
    • 1 ½ cups of mayonnaise
    • 1 ½ cups of chopped celery
    • 1 red bell pepper diced
    • 3 tablespoons of sour cream
    • 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 2 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • ¼ cup chopped parsley

    Now feel free to get creative with your dressing ingredients and seasoning mixtures. Some add ingredients like pickle juice or sweet pickles, green onions, boiling eggs and even cherry tomatoes to their mac salad.

    Macaroni Salad Directions:

    1. Start cooking your pasta according to the package directions, or until pasta reaches al dente. Drain pasta and then rinse under cold water. This will cool the pasta and halt the cooking process.
    2. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients except for the parsley, celery and bell pepper. This will become your dressing.
    3. Combine dressing with cooked pasta.
    4. Use the parsley, celery and bell pepper to top and mix into the salad.
    5. Place macaroni salad into the fridge and let chill for 1 hour before serving. Bon Appetito!

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    Why is my Macaroni Salad not creamy?

    There can be a few reasons why your macaroni salad may not reach your desired consistency. If you find that your mac salad falls a little on the dryer side, here’s a few tips to make it right:

    • Play around with the measurements of your dressing. Adding more mayo or sour cream or both could be a simple fix for dry consistency.
    • Adding a tiny bit of olive oil and tossing the mixture can help revive your mac salad.
    • Sometimes if you let your mac salad chill overnight it can dry out. This is because the pasta is absorbing the liquids within the dish. Using a small amount of olive oil on your pasta before mixing with the dressing will coat the pasta in a liquid-repelling layer. This will allow your pasta to stay creamy for longer.

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    Should Pasta be rinsed in Macaroni Salad?

    In our recipe, we listed rinsing your past after it finishes boiling as a step. We find this to be a very important step. While it’s perfectly fine to skip this step there’s a good reason we listed it!

    Rinsing your pasta after it reaches al dente halts the cooking process, and prevents the pasta from over-cooking. You can read more about this in our blog How to Cook Pasta Perfectly

    About Dagostino Handmade Pasta...

    From Lemons to Premium Pasta

    Our story started with lemon farmers in Sicily. In the early 19th century lemons would go on long voyages from Sicily to New Orleans, usually taking around 100 days. These Sicilians would create settlements in New Orleans and with them came pasta.

    The Fresina Family, our founders, were some of these original lemon farmers and started creating handmade pasta in New Orleans in 1926. Since then, the Dagostino and Hayward families have continued their tradition. Creating premium handmade pasta using pure semolina flour and water then cutting the pasta through bronze dies and air-drying in wooden cellars.

    Our pasta is still made the old-fashioned way, in our pasta factory, using the “delicate” method developed centuries ago. Small quantities of pasta are extruded through bronze, carefully looped over wooden rods, straightened, and then air-dried in wooden cellars. Celebrated for its delicate texture and classic flavor, our pasta is handmade, all-natural, and preservative free. Producing the best tasting pasta available on the market today.

    Our sauces are some of the most authentic sauces available outside of Italy. The sauces are handmade in small batches with a unique blend of fresh herbs and spices. Made without preservatives, each batch is carefully examined by our chefs and food scientists to ensure our sauces are the best tasting on the market.

    You will experience our time honored family treasure in every meal.