½cupextra-virgin olive oil OR neutral vegetable oilsuch as canola or safflower
¼cupwhite wine vinegar OR red wine vinegar OR a combo of the two
1 to 2teaspoonshoney
1teaspoonfreshly squeezed lemon juice
6tablespoonsfreshly grated ParmesanDIVIDED
Pinchof red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepperto taste
8ouncestri-color garden rotini
1(4-ounce) jar diced pimentos
⅓cupfinely diced green olives
⅓cupfinely diced black olives
Measure oil, vinegar, water, honey, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons Parmesan, garlic salt, parsley, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and black pepper into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well-blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if desired.
Cook pasta in well-salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pimentos, green and black diced olives, remaining Parmesan, and about ⅔ of the dressing. Gently mix all of the ingredients with a large spoon until well combined. Refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to blend. Just before serving, shake and then stir in the remainder of the dressing and garnish with additional Parmesan, if desired.
The honey is intended to balance the acidity of the dressing. You may choose to add more or less, to taste.
Instead of shaking in a jar, you may whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl, process in a mini food processor, or blend in a blender. I find that using a blender or food processor actually results in a dressing that better stays emulsified.
For an extra olive-y side dish, you can increase the diced olives to ½ cup each. And for even zippier flavor, I prefer using Kalamata olives as opposed to canned black olives.
Feel free to add your favorite extras to this recipe...diced fresh veggies, Italian meats or cheeses, or even sliced/cubed grilled chicken!