Since the pandemic began, we haven’t eaten inside a restaurant. We have visited a few outdoor places, but we are definitely not ready to take a chance on inside dining yet. I find that I really don’t miss it much. And what I do miss, I am trying to recreate.
That brings us to
this tale of Ruby Tuesday’s ham and peas macaroni salad. That stuff is so damned good. This took a few
tries. I think I got it if not perfect then pretty close. I bought a ham steak
and rinsed it to remove the salt. I also used homemade dressing. You can just
use your favorite brand. You can also substitute any or all of the mayo with
ranch. I used baby bells to add a little color, but if you are being true to
the RT salad, use green bell peppers.
Now, if I could figure out how to make those pumpernickel croutons….
Time: Prep: 20 minutes, Cook: 9 minutes, Chill: 2 hours
Hardware: measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a mixing bowl, a pot, a colander, a large storage container
- 8 ounces rotini pasta
- ½ cup ranch dressing (your favorite brand or make your own) + 2 tablespoons
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 small bell pepper, diced (½ cup) I used 2 baby bells, one red and one yellow for color
- 1 cup diced, cooked ham
- ½ cup frozen peas
- Salt and pepper
- Place the frozen peas in the colander. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta over the peas. Rinse in very cold water and allow to drain completely.
- Dice the bell pepper, removing the white pith and seeds. Rinse and dice the ham. Try to make the dice of both the same size.
- Mix everything with mayo and ½ cup ranch. Reserve the rest of the ranch for later. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Mix in the reserved dressing and more black pepper just before serving. (Pasta is thirsty and will soak up dressing. The reserved stuff will ensure that your salad is creamy.)