This four ingredient Creamy Italian Pasta Salad is the quickest way to pasta salad heaven. A super easy creamy Italian dressing gives this pasta salad the Alfredo touch.
This is not going to be one of those super long recipe posts telling you a story about how this Creamy Italian Pasta Salad came from a wonderful aunt (it did) who was a great hostess (she was) and it changed my life forever (it just might have). If you are a fan of a Fettuccine Alfredo sauce like my homemade Butter and Cream Sauce recipe, you're going to especially like this pasta salad dressing.
I mean really, really like it... especially when you find out how darn easy it is!
Why this recipe
Three ingredient pasta salad dressing.
And it's got other wonderful qualities:
Bold flavor. This isn't one of your oily-no-flavor pasta salad recipes. The creamy italian dressing recipe coats any curly pasta or makes a mean fettuccine alfredo pasta salad. And did I tell you it only has 3 ingredients? 🤗
Perfect side dish recipe. Your holiday ham or beef tenderloin would love to have a big scoop of this pasta salad alongside it!
Unique ingredients. A few little accessories like salty sunflower seeds, some broccolini and a burst of Calabrian peppers totally seal the deal.
Speaking of ingredients...read on to see what you'll need.
Don't be thrown off by the pretty picture...the ingredient list for this dreamy, creamy pasta salad is pretty straightforward.
- Marie's Creamy Italian Garlic dressing. Local Chi-town friends can find it at Jewel-Osco.
- Paul Newman's Classic Oil and Vinegar Dressing. You can substitute any Italian dressing that's your favorite...or you can check out my Salad Dressing Guide and make one of mine!
- Fresh grated parmesan cheese. You know how I feel about fresh grated parm. It's a must. But...the green can is acceptable here if that's all you have!
Simple pasta salad ingredients
They might be simple but they pack a punch of flavor and texture!
- Calabrian chiles. Chopped and sprinkled over for a pop of color and heat.
- Broccolini. A little green never hurt, right?
- Sunflower seeds. Every pasta creamy pasta salad needs sprinkle of crunch!
To make this easy four ingredient pasta salad recipe, you'll start with some cooked pasta. My favorites are
- farfalle (as shown)
- fettuccine or bucatini
- cavatappi, rotini, or fusilli
Make the creamy Italian dressing
This is a super kid-friendly pasta recipe because mixing up this dressing is as easy as opening a couple of containers and pouring dressing in a bowl!
Mix the two dressings together in a large measuring cup or bowl (1). Stir in the grated parmesan (2).
Voila! You just made the dressing!
Prep the veggies
Steam some broccolini and open a jar of canned calabrian chiles.
Mix up the pasta salad
Pour the dressing over the cooked and drained pasta (3).
Mix with a wooden spoon until the pasta is well-coated with the dressing (4).
If making ahead, reserve a little salad dressing for tossing with the pasta salad right before serving.-Josie + Nina
Additional Topping Ideas
Think of this creamy pasta salad as a room temperature version of Fettuccine Alfredo. So you can accessorize it however you like!
- Cooked Chicken or Beef - Add some of my Foolproof Chicken sliced up for a complete and easy dinner recipe.
- Roasted red peppers and garlic - A little homemade roasted garlic and some red peppers add even more Italian flavor.
- Caramelized onions and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
No worries! Any store-bought Caesar salad dressing would work. Marie's is just the one my aunt used and we love the flavor!
Sure - asiago, fontinella, sharp provolone all would work. You want a crumbly cheese that can be grated into small...well, crumbs!
Up to 5 days is about as long as we've had it. But to be honest...it's never lasts that long because there aren't usually many leftovers!
Try and stop yourself! It's so good that way and one I highly endorse. Call it a cheater fettuccine alfredo recipe!
To easily steam the broccolini, use a steamer over a couple of inches of lightly boiling water and steam for about 7-8 minutes until tender and bright green. Don't over do it - there's nothing worse than overcooked broccoli!
Serving & Storage
Mix the dressing up the day before. Cook the pasta up then too. Mix them all together the day you plan to serve it. Save a little dressing to toss with the pasta right before serving as the pasta absorbs a lot of dressing when made ahead.
Don't add the toppings until right before serving.
Store in a covered container for up to five days in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving. Don't freeze.
Before you go....
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Creamy Italian Pasta Salad
- steamer, optional
- Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Don't overcook!
- In a medium bowl, mix the dressing ingredients together including the parmesan.
- While the pasta is cooking, steam some broccolini until bright green and tender, about 7-8 minutes.
- Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside to cool.
- Toss the dressing with the pasta. If the pasta is still warm when you mix it with the dressing, reserve a little dressing for tossing with right before serving if you aren't eating right away.
- Garnish with the steamed broccolini, a generous sprinkling of sunflower seeds, and some chopped Calabrian chiles.