This creamy, delicious Seafood Pasta Salad has chewy pasta, lots of colorful vegetables, and a mix of your favorite seafood like shrimp, crab, and lobster. It's perfect for parties, picnics, and barbecues.
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente (usually 8 to 12 minutes depending on the exact noodle). Drain well and rinse with cold water.
Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil. Fill a medium bowl with cold water and ice. Add the broccoli and blanch until bright green and tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the ice water to stop the cooking, then drain well.
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Italian dressing, and Parmesan cheese. Stir in pasta, tomatoes, bell pepper, and scallions. Carefully fold in crab and stir until evenly coated. Cover and chill until serving time.
Penne pasta: Or substitute rotini, farfalle, macaroni, or any small other pasta.
Broccoli: Blanch the broccoli for a milder taste and a brighter green color.
Salad dressing: To make my favorite Italian dressing, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp honey, 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried parsley, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper). Or, use your favorite store-bought dressing.
Parmesan cheese: I like the dry one from the green shaker can best in this unfussy pasta salad.
Seafood: Aim for 1 1/2 cups total (about 1 pound) of your favorite seafood such as cold poached shrimp, imitation crab, lump crabmeat, or chunks of poached lobster.
Yield: This recipe makes 8 generous servings.
Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Make ahead: The noodles can be boiled, rinsed with cold water, and drained up to 2 days in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator. The broccoli can be blanched and chilled 1 day in advance. The Italian dressing, if you make it yourself, can be made up to 3 days in advance.