Why It Works
- Overcooking the pasta ensures that it has the best texture once chilled, since it firms as it cools.
- Pickled onion adds pops of tartness without soaking the pasta itself in vinegar.
- Roasted piquillo peppers add vegetable depth, while fresh parsley, scallions and lemon zest add bright notes.
Most pasta salad is a crime against good taste, but not this one. Crispy chorizo, sautéed garlic, roasted piquillo peppers, and plenty of fresh parsley and lemon zest make a pasta salad that you'll actually want to eat...a lot.
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 pound small pasta, such as fideuà (see note), macaroni, or ditalini
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 6 ounces Spanish chorizo (about 2 sausages), diced
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1/4 cup chopped roasted or grilled piquillo peppers from 1 (12-ounce) brine- or oil-packed jar
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley leaves and tender stems (about 1/2 bunch)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
- 2 to 3 teaspoons zest from 1 lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a small mixing bowl, cover onion with sherry vinegar and let stand until lightly pickled, at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until very tender throughout, 2 to 3 minutes longer than al dente stage according to package. Drain in a colander, then chill under cold running water. Let drain well, then drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss to coat. Set aside.
In a small skillet, cook chorizo over medium-high heat until fat has rendered and chorizo is crisp, about 8 minutes; during last 1 minute of cooking, stir in garlic.
In a large serving bowl, toss pasta with chorizo, garlic, and its rendered fat, along with olive oil, piquillo peppers, parsley, scallions, and lemon zest. Drain onions and toss into salad. Season with salt and pepper. Serve right away at room temperature or make up to 1 day in advance, refrigerate, and return to room temperature before serving.
Fideuà is a Spanish dish similar to paella but made with pasta instead of rice; the pasta used here is the same pasta used in that dish, and it looks like small, thin, slightly curved tubular macaroni. Feel free to substitute other small, tubular pasta shapes instead if you can't locate it.