Italian Pasta Salad with Sausage and Casarecce

Instead of mixing in the lettuce for this Italian salad, it is used as an edible bowl to hold the flavor-packed mixture. Spice it up with red pepper flakes if desired, and garnish with freshly shredded Parmesan.

5 pounds Barilla Casarecce
5 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 pounds finely diced red onion
5 ounces minced garlic
5 pounds Italian sausage, casings removed
1 1/2 pounds sundried tomatoes, julienned
2 1/4 pounds fresh or frozen peas
5 pounds roma tomatoes, diced
2 1/2 pounds diced red bell peppers
2 1/2 pounds diced yellow bell peppers
6 ounces chopped fresh Italian parsley
6 ounces chopped fresh cilantro
6 ounces chopped fresh basil
10 ounces balsamic dressing
10 ounces Italian dressing
10 ounces sundried tomato dressing
salt and pepper
5 heads iceberg lettuce, leaves separated
  1. Cook the Barilla pasta for 1 minute less than the time indicated on the package. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. Alternatively, cool it down in a walk-in cooler. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the sausage; brown and cook it through. Stir in the peas and sundried tomatoes to heat through. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the cold pasta with the cooked sausage mixture and the remaining ingredients. Check the seasoning and refrigerate until needed.
  4. Serve portions in iceberg lettuce bowls.