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Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

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INGREDIENTS:

4 cups short pasta (about 375 grams) gemelli pasta pictured*

4 slices thick-cut bacon (or 6 slices regular cut) chopped

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)

¾ cup sliced cucumbers (70g)

¾ cup broccoli florets (50g)

¾ cup carrot matchsticks

½ cup cheddar cheese cubes (60g)

⅔ cup ranch dressing

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat (or canola oil, olive oil, or other)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.Boil a large pot of lightly salted water, and cook pasta until al dente according to package directions. Drain the pasta.

2.Cool the pasta and set it aside. To cool pasta quickly, pour it into a large colander and run it under cold water. Pour cooled pasta into a large mixing bowl.

3.Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp and browned. Remove from pan, reserving bacon fat, and drain on some paper towels.

4.Stir together the ranch dressing, mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons bacon fat, salt, and pepper, and pour over the pasta. Add crisped bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, and cheese and stir just to combine.

5.Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2-3 hours. Serve cold.

Notes:

Storage:

Store: This recipe can be prepped ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If it seems dry, simply add a splash of water or a bit of ranch dressing before serving.

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