Look, not to stereotype, but a lot of pasta salad sucks. It's not pasta's fault, it's not salad's fault, it's just a sad and perplexing truth. From the misery of high-school cafeteria macaroni salad to the forlorn ennui of cold, damp, barely seasoned penne mixed with mushy cucumbers and packaged shredded cheese, the stuff doesn't exactly have a reputation of being super worthwhile.
But there's a way to fix this mess: Make it taste like pizza.
After all, pizza is magic. And it's actually not that hard to make it taste like pizza, either. In this case, you'll just need parsley, oregano, and garlic—the herbal building blocks of pizza flavor— as well as mozzarella (duh), pepperoni (why not?) and the good-timey vegetables that would make any worthwhile pizza sauce: marinated mushrooms, kalamata olives, yellow bell pepper.
Throw it together with some farfalle (bowtie pasta) and handfuls of peppery arugula, and you've got yourself a dish that just might change pasta salad's bad rap.
RECIPE: Easy Italian Pasta Salad
But you know, that's the power of pepperoni and mozzarella magic.