We reached all the way back to the “Mad Men” era for inspiration as we crafted this classic July Fourth side dish. It’s macaroni salad in all its tangy, comfortingly mayonnaise-rich, decades-ago glory. This is pasta salad as your parents — or more likely your grandparents — remember it. You won’t be able to stop shoveling it onto your plate.
Want to make it more substantial? Shredded cooked chicken would be a fine addition, as would cooked and crumbled bacon. Or go for broke and add both. But whatever you do, don’t skimp on the mayo, and don’t even think about use light, fat-free or tofu mayo.
MID-CENTURY MACARONI SALAD
Start to finish: 30 minutes, plus chilling
12 ounces elbow pasta
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown mustard
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 cup grated red onion
1/4 cup chopped sweet pickle
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored and chopped
1 cup (6 ounces) cubed ham
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded carrot
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar, celery seed, grated onion and chopped sweet pickle. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the celery, bell pepper, ham, cheddar and carrot. Stir in the drained pasta, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Nutrition information per serving: 420 calories; 220 calories from fat (52 percent of total calories); 24 g fat (4.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 420 mg sodium; 37 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 12 g protein.