12-ouncepackagetri-color rotini pasta, cooked and drained
⅔cupcreamy Caesar dressing
½teaspooncoarse kosher salt
3roma tomatoes, diced
1 (6-ounce)canblack olives, drained and chopped
¼cupfinely diced red onion, or green onions
¾cupshredded parmesan cheese
6-10fresh basil leaves, cut into strips or torn into pieces, plus more for garnish, if desired
½ to 1cuptoasted pine nuts, optional - see note for substitutions
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to package directions. Drain and coat with the Caesar dressing while still warm.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the pine nuts and extra basil. Toss well to combine. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
Refrigerate until ready to serve (4-8 hours). If the pasta salad seems dry after refrigerating, add a little more Caesar dressing and stir to combine. Before serving, top with pine nuts and fresh basil, if desired.
Pine Nuts: I've subbed unsalted sunflower seeds for the pine nuts before with good results (although pine nuts are my preference; love them!).Tomatoes: you can use regular tomatoes in place of the Roma; I like to give them a light squeeze over the sink after slicing in half to get rid of a bit of water before adding them to the salad.Spices: the original recipe called for 2 teaspoons sauté spice (equal parts black pepper, salt and garlic powder). I've scaled that amount down over the years and broken it out into separate ingredients in the recipe.