Arrange pepperoni in single layer on paper towel. Cover with another paper towel and layer sopresatta on towel. Top with another paper towel and microwave on highest power until meat begins to render fat, about 1 minute. Set meat aside. I have drained a 12-oz jar, each, of roasted red peppers, and pepperoncini. I love pepperoncini, and they're a great condiment to add to a sandwich-- and that's why I usually have a jar on hand. I like to roast my own red bell peppers, but once in a while I buy them in a jar for a quick shortcut.
Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their juices and are lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
Transfer to large bowl and cool. At this point, I could have just eaten the entire bowl of mushrooms!
In fact, I'm going to make just the mushrooms for a tasty Friday Happy Hour snack. But, back to the pasta salad... drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pot. ATK's Tip #2: adding vinegar and dressing to hot pasta will help the flavors to absorb faster (I do this when making my German potato salad).
Drain the pasta, return to pot, and toss with ½ cup dressing and the remaining vinegar.
TASTING NOTES: Since I'm not a big fan of pepperoni, I found that flavor to be a little too dominant for my own personal taste. However, my husband and son loved this recipe. They thought the pepperoni ratio was just right for them-- so adjust according to your personal preference. I picked out the mushrooms and ate them with great relish, they are that good. This salad is hearty enough as a main dish, but could also be a side dish. From start to finish, this salad took over an hour to prepare. I would definitely make it again, especially for a potluck. It's flavorful, colorful and I think it would be a big hit.
The printable recipe for this delicious salad is at the bottom of this post. This recipe was originally printed in the October 2007 issue of Cook's Country, which I also subscribe to.
Enjoying my weekend in the kitchen,