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Mac and Cheese Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

By Tom Douglas From Moveable Feast Season 1, Ep.1
Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 12 cups

Servings: 6

Buttermilk, sour cream, and lemon juice lend a welcome touch of tartness to this creamy comfort-food pasta salad.


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, well shaken
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced chives
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic (2 medium cloves)
  • 2 tsp. minced shallot
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound shaped pasta, such as fusilli, farfalle, or cavatappi
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and pale green parts (about 3)
  • 3 oz. ricotta salata, coarsely grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • 4 oz. mâche or baby spinach leaves, stems trimmed if necessary, washed and dried (4 cups)


  • To make the buttermilk dressing, whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Add the chives, dill, garlic, shallots, and lemon juice and whisk again. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and immediately run plenty of cold water over it until it is completely cool. Drain well.
  • Put the pasta in a large bowl, and, using a rubber spatula, fold in enough dressing to coat it generously. Fold in the scallions, cheese, and mâche or spinach leaves.
  • Mound the salad on a large platter and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

You can cook the pasta a few hours ahead, run cold water over it, and drain. Spread the pasta in a single layer over a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover the pasta with plastic wrap and refrigerate. You can make the dressing early in the day and refrigerate, covered. But toss the pasta salad with the dressing only when you are ready to serve.


Recipe adapted from Tom’s Big Dinners by Tom Douglas (Morrow, 2003)

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Reviews (1 review)

  • JohnKowalsky | 11/27/2014

    Really good recipe!

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