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Hooters Pasta Salad

By Todd Wilbur


Score: 4.60. Votes: 5
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Menu Description: "Rotini, cukes, tomatoes, scallions and vinaigrette dressing on the side."

On the back of each menu at this popular dinner house chain is the "Hooters Saga"—a tongue-in-cheek tale of the restaurant's origin. The story claims that the chain's founders, referred to as "The Hooters Six," were arrested shortly after opening the first Hooters restaurant "for impersonating restauranteurs (sic). There were no indictments," the story explains. "But the stigma lingers on."

Even though the "saga" claims the building for the first Hooters restaurant was originally going to be used as a "giant walk-in dumpster," each Hooters outlet is designed to look like a Florida beachouse. And whether it's December or July, day or night, you'll notice the trademark multicolored Christmas lights are always on.

Since Hooters is more than just Buffalo wings and shrimp, I thought I'd include a clone for a newer item on the menu. You'll love the tasty tri-color pasta salad tossed with tomatoes, cucumbers, and green onion, and a delicious vinaigrette. Use this Top Secret version of the pink vinaigrette dressing on a variety of salads or sub sandwiches, or even as a marinade.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspooon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch onion powder
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  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 pound rainbow rotini or tri-color radiatore (red, green, and white colors)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/4 cup minced cucumber
  • Salt
  • Green leaf lettuce (optional, for garnish)
  • Do This
    • Restaurant/Brand
      Hooters
    • Instructions

      1. Make the dressing: use an electric mixer to combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Mix on high speed for about a minute or so until the dressing becomes thick and creamy. Put the dressing in a sealed container and store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to toss it with the chilled pasta.

      2. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat and add the pasta. Cook for 12 to 14 minutes, until tender, then drain it.

      3. Spray the pasta with a gentle stream of cold water to help cool it off. Drizzle the oil over the cooling pasta to keep it from sticking together. Gently toss the pasta, then put it in a covered container and let it cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so.

      4. While the pasta is cooling down, prepare the vegetables: remove the seeds and soft pulp from the tomato(es) before dicing, using only the green part of the green onion (or scallions); and be sure to mince the cucumber into very small pieces.

      5. When the pasta is no longer warm, add the diced tomato, green onion, and cucumber. Sprinkle salt over the pasta salad to taste and put it back in the refrigerator until well chilled.

      6. When the pasta has chilled, spoon it onto plates and place the vinaigrette dressing on the side. For a cool garnish like that served in the restaurant, spread some leaves of green lettuce onto each plate, then spoon the pasta onto the lettuce. You may also toss the salad with the dressing ahead of time rather than serving it on the side. But don't do this too far in advance or the pasta tends to soak up the dressing.

      Serves 4.

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Score: 4.60. Votes: 5
Rating of votes (5)
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Kathy
Sep 29, 2014, 22:00

I made this for my granddaughter's birthday party and it was a big hit! Everyone loved it!!

pat rourke
May 22, 2013, 22:00

Been using this recipe since the book was published. Add green pepper, sometimes red onion if I have it, use fresh pickle rather than cucumber then you don't have to peel. Can add cooked shrimp, diced rotisserie chicken or cooked diced beef for a whole meal. May like to double dressing as pasta absorbes it. Add some then wait. Might want to add more

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