By Angela McRae, The Shopper Kitchen

Who doesn’t love pasta? Whether it’s in macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, or a favorite lasagna recipe, pasta is as American as …

Well, let me rephrase that. While we often associate pasta with Italy, the National Pasta Association (NPA) in Washington, DC, says that pasta “is believed to have existed in some form in ancient China and Greece,” and there is evidence of pasta dishes appearing in Italian cookbooks of the early 1200s. The association also notes, “In 1789, Thomas Jefferson brought the first ‘macaroni’ maker to America after visiting Europe as an ambassador to France. This inspired Jefferson to design a machine with instructions for making pasta.”

Bless you, Thomas Jefferson, because I happily include “pasta” on my list of favorite foods.

Pasta sometimes gets a bad rap because of the carbohydrates, but perhaps it shouldn’t. At the 2017 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Chicago, a new study was presented which found that “the diets of adults who eat pasta are associated with higher daily consumption of total vegetables than the diets of non-pasta-eaters. The increased vegetable intake referred specifically to red and orange vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers.”

I found that interesting since one of my favorite spring recipes is a pasta salad that happens to include red bell peppers, so maybe that study was on to something!

Now I realize people eat pasta salad year-round these days, but not me. I don’t want a cold salad in cold weather. When the temperature warms up a bit, though, I’m reaching for my cookbooks and revisiting the recipes that I tuck away until around Easter each year.

And that includes this recipe I found in a cookbook sent to me by one of my blog readers a few years ago. “Sarah in Mississippi” was one of the “ladies who lunch” at a place called the Glass Slipper in Fort Walton Beach, which has since closed. But luckily for me, Sarah shared a cookbook of their favorite recipes, and this pasta salad recipe caught my eye because of its curry powder and cashews.

It’s also pretty! And for springtime entertaining, what could be easier that dishing up a new pasta salad? Try this one and let me know what you think!

Cashew-Curry-Chicken Pasta Salad


12 ounces (4-1/2 cups) uncooked rotini noodles
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1-1/2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
2 oranges, peeled and chopped
1 cup cashew halves

Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cook rotini according to package directions, then drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl (and I use the largest bowl that I own!), combine cooked rotini and remaining salad ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and blend. Add to salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until serving time. Yields 10-12 servings.