Mom’s Famous New Jersey Macaroni Salad

Mom’s Famous New Jersey Macaroni Salad

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Macaroni salad is a classic dish that has been a staple in American cuisine for decades. Its origins can be traced back to the late 1800s when pasta was introduced to the United States. Since then, it has become a popular dish at picnics, barbecues, and potlucks.

In the 1940s, Hawaiian-style macaroni salad became popular, which included a tangy dressing made with vinegar and mustard. In the 1960s, the addition of canned tuna and hard-boiled eggs became a popular variation. And in the 1980s, the Japanese popularized a macaroni salad that included ham and cucumber.

Today, there are countless variations of macaroni salad, each with its own unique twist. But one thing remains the same - it is a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed by all. So why not try making your own version of macaroni salad and embark on your own culinary journey?

As we approach the 4th of July, we cannot help but reminisce about the good old days of growing up in Rahway, New Jersey. The bike races downtown, the huge picnic with family, friends, and classmates, and the spectacular fireworks at Warinanco Park. However, the highlight of the day was always Mom's Famous New Jersey Macaroni Salad.

This delicious and refreshing salad was the star of the show among the grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, Italian sausage, and homemade lemonade. Made with perfectly cooked macaroni, diced celery, red pepper, and onions, and dressed in a tangy and creamy dressing, this salad was the perfect accompaniment to any 4th of July celebration.

So, as we prepare to celebrate this year's 4th of July, let's honor the memories of growing up in Rahway, New Jersey, and bring back Mom's Famous New Jersey Macaroni Salad. Trust us, your family and friends will thank you for it!

Serves: 20 - Preparation Time: 1 hour

Equipment: 6- or 8-quart Stockpot, Kitchen Machine food cutter, Mixing Bowls

  • 1 16-ounce box Elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 stalk celery chopped #2 cone.
  • 1 red onion chopped #2 cone.
  • 1 red pepper, diced.
  • 1½ cups mayonnaise
  • 3-tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3-tablespoons Gherkins sweet pickle juice
  • 1-tablespoon sugar
  • 6-7 Sweet Gherkin pickles chopped or 2 tbs sweet pickle relish.
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 4-ounce cans baby shrimp


In a large bowl combine all the ingredients. Toss well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

HOW TO COOK PERFECT PASTA for several applications

To cook 1-pound of pasta you will need 4½ to 5-quarts of purified or filtered water. DO NOT USE Chlorinated Tap Water as the chemicals will absorb into the pasta and change the flavor and consistency.

Bring water to a boil over medium heat 275ᵒF. Cover the pot and open the vent and the water will come to a boil much quicker. Do not add salt until the water has come to a full boil. There are two reasons for this: Salted water takes longer to boil and undissolved salt in cold water can mar the surface of the stainless-steel pot with small white dots or pits. Personally, I do not salt my pasta water.

Do NOT add oil of any kind. Oil has the unwanted effect of coating the pasta so the sauce will not stick.

Stir with a long stainless-steel spoon or fork (stirring prevents pasta from sticking to each other and from sticking to the bottom and the edge of pan). Frequent stirring while the pasta is cooking will help the macaroni to cook.

Cooking Time: Don't rely on the package to give you the correct cooking time (this is only a guideline). Start timing when the water returns to a boil. Most pasta is cooked in 8-12 minutes. NOTE: Fresh homemade pasta will be cooked in half the time or less.

Test pasta for doneness after about 4 minutes of cooking by tasting it. It is difficult to give exact cooking times since different shapes and thickness of pasta will take less or more time to cook.

Watch the cooking process of the pasta carefully. Pasta can be overcooked very quickly. Pasta should be tender but still firm when you eat it, what in Italy they call "al dente". To be sure, bite into a piece of the pasta (take a piece of pasta from the pan, cut off a tiny piece, and chew it in your mouth).

The pasta should have a slight resistance (chewy) when biting into it, but should not be soft, overdone, or have a hard center. Once the pasta is “al dente”, immediately turn off or remove from the heat source, and add 1 cup COLD water or ice cubes to the hot water to stop the cooking.

Cooking Pasta for Baked Dishes: Boil until just flexible but still quite firm (usually about a 1/3 of the normal cooking time). To test cut into pieces.

Drain immediately into a Pasta-Colander or Culinary Basket. Shake to remove excess water. Do NOT rinse the pasta or the sauce will not stick to it.

EXCEPTION: Except when saucing with thin broth or sauce such as fresh tomato or seafood, pasta needs to be moist to combine well. As soon as it is drained, remove it from the colander and place it either back in the cooking pan to keep warm to toss it with the sauce, or place it in a preheated serving dish or individual preheated serving bowls. Once the pasta is in the pan or bowl, use a fork and spoon and quickly toss it with the sauce.

EXCEPTION: You may want to rinse the wide pasta, such as lasagna noodles. If you do not, you will have a hard time separating the noodles without tearing them.