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Published August 07, 2013, 10:00 PM

The Great Indoors: Simple crab pasta salad is a real winner

Congratulations to Michelle Noffze of Fargo, our first winner of The Great Indoors Community Cookoff. Her Crab Pasta Salad got the most votes for our first segment on summer salads.

By: Tracy Briggs, INFORUM

Congratulations to Michelle Noffze of Fargo, our first winner of The Great Indoors Community Cookoff. Her Crab Pasta Salad got the most votes for our first segment on summer salads.

Noffze and her son, Tyler, were nice enough to come to my house the other day and share the recipe with us. (They were also nice enough to put up with my overly exuberant dog who thinks she needs to play a role in food prep).

Noffze says she remembers eating Crab Pasta Salad when she was growing up in Wisconsin. She’s not really sure where the recipe came from, but she thinks her mom might have gotten the idea while she worked at Red Lobster.

No matter its origins, Noffze says it’s a crowd pleaser and has always been a favorite to take along on hunting trips because it keeps well for so long.

She says you can certainly use real crab in the salad, but she actually prefers the imitation variety because it holds its texture and flavor a bit better.

Another key ingredient is the Marzetti Sweet Italian Dressing. Noffze says it’s not always easy to find, but she finds it in the produce section of

Wal-mart. But she says do your best to use it instead of the more popular Zesty Italian Dressing you can find everywhere.

“My mom and I disagree on this. But I like the sweet dressing so much more. It complements the crab well. The zesty dressing almost competes with it,” she says.

The recipe was easy to make, and Noffze was right: It made a huge batch and I was able to have it for leftovers the next day. It tasted even better 24 hours later.

Stay tuned for more recipes in The Great Indoors Community Cookoff.

Michelle Noffze’s Crab Pasta Salad

1 or 2 16-ounce packages flaked crab (imitation works well)

3 cups cooked, cooled, and drained rotini spiral noodles

1 cup coarsely chopped celery

½ red onion sliced thin

12-ounce can sliced mushrooms

16-ounce can whole black olives

1-2 heads of broccoli, broken into bite-sized pieces

1 cup grape tomatoes (optional)

1 bottle of Marzetti Sweet Italian Dressing

Mix in large bowl and refrigerate 24 hours before serving.

Watch ‘The Great Indoors’ with Tracy Briggs every Thursday on www.InforumTV.com

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