Start to Finish: 25 minutes Servings: 6 Difficulty Level: Beginner
Whether you are having a late-afternoon barbecue or you want some comfort food on a picnic, a macaroni salad does the trick. It is a side dish that complements fried chicken, barbecued ribs, tuna, burgers and BLTs. It's best served cold, which makes this pasta salad convenient to prepare ahead of time. Follow this classic macaroni salad recipe and you'll have a crowd-pleaser at your next cookout.
Bring a saucepan of slightly salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni for 10 minutes or according to the directions on the packaging. Transfer the cooked macaroni in a colander; set aside.
In a large bowl, mix in the macaroni -- while it's still warm -- with the mayonnaise, green onions, red peppers, celery, balsamic vinegar, yellow mustard, sugar, salt and black pepper. Toss until all the ingredients are mixed; taste to determine if you want to add any more herbs or spices, such as basil, chives or cilantro.
When the macaroni salad is cool, cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.
Versatile macaroni salad lends itself to several variations.