Ah, tuna macaroni salad, the quintessential staple to any summer picnic table.
Everyone's got a favorite tuna pasta recipe and generally make it with elbow macaroni. Some like the mayonnaise base, others go for one that is dressed with a vinaigrette. Since I am somewhat of a food snob and have personal preferences, I always use Hellmann's Mayonnaise as the binder. I also think that the best dry pasta on the grocery shelf is Barilla.
Instead of using elbow macaroni I switched when Barilla's put out a "Cellantani" pasta. Cellantani is a curly pasta with ribs that catches the tuna mix and to me just tastes better. Barilla has also done the same thing with ribs on their elbow pasta. I made one today using elbows as that is what I had in my pantry.
One thing I don't like to do is overcook the pasta. It's so disappointing when I grab a spoonful of tuna mac on a picnic table buffet that looks good, then when I bite into it the pasta is mushy and pasty! Yuck.
For this recipe, and because of the size of our family, I cooked only 3/4 of a box and wound up with 10-12 side servings.
- 3/4 box elbow or cellantani pasta - cooked per box directions
- 1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise
- 3 - 5 oz. cans tuna fish - drained
- 3/4 cup finely minced onion (I did mine in a small food processor.)
- 3/4 cup finely minced celery (I did mine in a small food processor.)
- 1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes or fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 tsp. black pepper (coarse ground)
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
- Cook the pasta to el dente according to box directions and rinse it with cold water. (For any other pasta meal I don't rinse the pasta but for tuna mac I do.)
- When the pasta is cooled, mix it in a large bowl with the mayonnaise and onion and celery along with all of the spices. Use your hands for this - they are the best tool to use.
- Keep refrigerated and bring out to get to room temperature. If you are serving outdoors, make sure you place your bowl on ice as the onion will spoil the salad.