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Chef Fabio Viviani: How to Make an Italian-American Pasta Salad

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Published on Aug 1, 2012

Chef Fabio Viviani and David Venable come together to show you have to create an Italian-American pasta salad. Plus, get tips on how to perfectly cook your pasta.




We are making an Italian version of a pasta salad. We have some pre-cooked pasta, and careful with that because even if it's a cold pasta salad and even if it's pre-cooked you don't want to overcook because Italians never over cook pasta. So in order to understand that the pasta is not overcooked you have to cook it to the point that there is still a rim inside, and as you cool the pasta down, don't shock it in ice water. That will make the pasta break. Just cool it down with room temperature water, that's the best way to pre-cook your pasta. Other ingredients for a pasta salad is Italian hot salami. Italian hot salami is the perfect cold cut for pasta salad. Dice the salami as small as you like it. Then we have parmesan cheese, there's no Italy without parmesano. Dried, shaved or grated parmesan cheese, that doesn't matter. Then we have simply diced mozzarella cheese. And we have summer cherry tomato, the more color the better, flavor delicious, plum, full, very sweet summertime is perfect for tomato -- salt, pepper and we have extra virgin olive oil. Little extra virgin olive oil in the pasta, that's an Italian little. It's a measurement unit. Italian little is more than American little, but it's not too much. Then we have cherry tomatoes, and I'm going for all of it, I'm not saving any ingredient here. Then we have parmesano. We got the mozzarella, salami. I'm smiling already. Basil, a good handful of fresh basil. I don't even want to chop too much the basil I just want to give it a rough chop. American pasta salad is quite different from Italian pasta salad. As in Italy we only feature olive oil and some thyme, lemon juice in our pasta salad. American pasta salad does feature mayonnaise, but here's the issue, it's summertime, mayonnaise sometimes can be heavy. But in order to do mayonnaise today, I'm a professional chef it will be very easy for me to whip it up, I will need the help of one of my greatest friends and one of the biggest food personalities in the United States. Fabio, it's good to be with you, your pasta salad looks tremendous. It looks tremendous but to be an American pasta salad it needs a little mayonnaise. We're going to crack two eggs, two eggs is the right amount to make a few cups of mayonnaise. Now the deal here is to whip the eggs with a blade attachment and then as their whipping add the oil. Until it begins to thicken. I can tell you do this for a living. Once or twice. This is going to thicken up, at this point since we're making a basil mayonnaise, the good news about mayonnaise is that you can flavor it however you like. I just got like 5-6 leaves -- you don't need much because basil has a lot of flavor. And we'll keep adding the oil. Little more oil. Tell me why it's important to add this slowly? Because it's important to give the eggs time to go on a date with the oil, get together get to know each other before they can bloom in this beautiful relationship that we call mayonnaise. Now we stop this, I'm going to add a good pinch of salt, remember add salt to your mayonnaise after some oil has been added. Why is that important? The salt will actually break down the protein in the egg whites and will make this a little harder to whip. Let's squeeze a little lemon inside. Half and then we'll taste it and maybe the other half. Always taste your food. And then we get the oil. I think it looks good, I think we should taste it, we always need to taste our food. First of all let's show people how nice this is, if you want it a little thicker you can add a little extra olive oil. Let's get this. How much mayonnaise? As much as you like, there's no guilt in this, its homemade mayonnaise. You can cheat a little bit. I love the herbs in there, it adds a little color. It adds a little color, adds a lot of flavor. It smells incredible are you kidding. Look at this, beautiful. Now this is for you and we serve with a touch of black pepper. I believe we have the perfect blend of an Italian and an American pasta salad. They like some Italian and we give it to them in an American way

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