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‘Tis the season for summer potlucks! When I get invited to one, I want to make a dish that feels more special than something store bought, but doesn’t take me hours of labor in the kitchen. My middle ground is pasta salad. This recipe is special because you make the sauce from scratch and it’s really creamy, but requires relatively little effort.

White Cheddar & Asparagus Pasta Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: 1 large bowl

Ingredients
Cheese Sauce
1-14oz can of artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
4 cups (16 oz) Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
¼ cup Tillamook Natural Sour Cream
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pasta Salad
1-16 oz bag of bow tie pasta, cooked al dente
2 tablespoons Tillamook Salted Butter
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces and steamed
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced

Preparation
The very first thing you should do is start cooking the bow tie pasta and asparagus. This way they will be ready just about the same time the sauce is coming together.

Cheese Sauce
Add artichoke hearts, cheddar cheese, sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper to a blender. Pulse until ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. If there are a few chunks left, that is okay, but you may also add more olive oil and continue to blend until desired consistency is reached. Set aside until you are ready to mix with the cooked bow tie noodles.

Pasta Salad
When the pasta is done cooking, drain the water and transfer the noodles to a large serving bowl. Mix in the butter so when you’re ready to add the sauce it will evenly distribute. Add the cheese sauce and stir together until the noodles are fully coated. Add asparagus, red bell pepper, and green onions and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. Get a large serving spoon and head to your potluck! This dish is best served warm or at room temperature.

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