A hot kitchen in summer can be especially brutal in the sweltering heat of New York City, so at this time of year I look to make tasty meals that keep the cooking to a minimum. I love a good salad, especially one that lets me clear out the fridge. This version of pasta salad is my latest creation. The addition of sour cream and a little bacon grease bring in a rich, creamy, umami flavor to the mayonnaise dressing. — L. Weal
4 slices bacon
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
8 ounces cooked rotini pasta
5 ounces fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 small (4 ounces) red onion, diced
1 plum tomato, diced
ground black pepper
medium (10-inch) skillet
measuring cups and spoons
1 small (1 1/2-quart) mixing bowl
1 large (5-quart) bowl
1. Place bacon in skillet over medium heat and cook until frothy — about 10 minutes.
2. Set aside 1 tablespoon bacon fat from skillet to cool. Lay out a few paper towel sheets, then transfer bacon there to absorb excess grease.
3. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, and cooled bacon fat in small bowl.
4. In large bowl, combine cooked pasta, spinach, onions, and tomatoes and stir until well mixed.
5. Pour mayonnaise dressing into pasta and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.