I'm pretty picky when it comes to things like potato and macaroni salads and it just seems like it's almost impossible to find any reasonably-priced ones that aren't rendered completely unpalatable by the addition of some kind of nauseating ingredient that makes what should be salty and savory into something sweet. I know it's usually sweet pickle relish (of all the things to make sweet, pickles? REALLY?!) but it really does just absolutely ruin any kind of creamy pasta salad or potato salad for me.
I came across this amazing sweet-free pasta salad at a grocery store deli and I tried replicating it at home but I'm afraid I loused it up and I'm desperate to make it correctly. So what I need is some advice and answers to specific questions because those recipe websites I've been using suck and don't get into specifics about what I need to know. Anyone game for helping a brother out?
The pasta salad in question is an Asiago Pasta Salad, wherein the recognizable ingredients are thinly sliced black and green (kalamata?) olives, some square-shaped red things (I'm under the impression they're either pieces of sundried tomato or possible very flat pimentos like you'd find inside of a green olive) which probably wouldn't be that difficult to find but I looked for them in the store and that crap can get pricey. I'm not optimistic but if there's a relatively cheap way to get them or an adequate sort of substitute, I'm all ears. There were slivers of purple onions in it too but I'm find substituting whatever type of onions I have on hand, I'm a big fan of them in general.
What I could not identify was the dressing used. It wasn't thick like mayonnaise at all so I'm not sure if I need some kind of creamy Italian dressing. I did use mayonnaise this time (needed a lot of it for nearly 2 pounds of pasta) and a couple of shakes of basil and parsley leaves from those little bottles in the pantry, but I don't think that did anything to help the flavor. I also threw in an 8 oz tub of shredded Asiago cheese and stirred it in but it didn't melt like I had hoped (I guess the pasta had cooled down too much by then) so there's still visible slivers of it rather than having blended in with the mayonnaise which I had assumed was the case with the kind I found at the store. So I'm wondering if there's an Asiago cheese blend dressing they might have used. Anyone aware of this product or its non-existence? Or if you could just recommend whatever type of herbs or spices I can add to plain mayonnaise or dressing to make it more palatable (preferably stuff I can just shake from a can rather than preparing). I know Oregano is a popular one but I haven't got any, though it is on my list.
I guess that's the main thing, just looking for decently-priced gourmet-ish items and an appropriate type of creamy dressing for my dream pasta salad I can make at home and not pay through the nose for a little pudding cup full of the stuff that I'd have to go all the way across town to the store that sells it for.