cenobite saladWhen we were still in high school my friends and I dedicated one week during summer break to watching all the Hellraiser movies, one a night, every night until we’d seen them all. (Had we done this a few years later we could have had a week-long marathon of mostly crap, let’s be honest.)

Hellraiser Headquarters was my friend Tony’s house because his parents were rarely home, and they were home, they were usually asleep. Like any good Italian household the fridge was always stocked – and like any American teenagers we were happy to empty it. Unlike most teenagers, however, we were foodies in the making – plotting meals to accompany each installment. There was no pizza and popcorn at our summertime shindigs – rather, antipasto salad, baked spaghetti and homemade mac n’ cheese.

Our meal choices were not just based on what we actually wanted to eat, but we also accounted for what would be the most disgusting to chew on while we watched flesh being ripped from bone.  Just as the Cenobites delivered pleasure and pain, we served up dishes that were as delectable as they were revolting.

cenobite salad close upStruggling to make the connection? Just take a look at this antipasto salad – the fleshy salami, the squiggly fusilli, the chopped bits and pieces, varying in color, texture and flavor. Skip the utensils and get in there with your hands to mix it all together – you’ll get it. But even if you’re not eating to the tune of Frank Cotton’s demise the tangy mustard vinaigrette and salty fixin’s can’t be beat on a summer day. And much like the Hellraiser series, Cenobite Salad Day I and Cenobite Salad Day II are palatable, but Cenobite Salad Day III is a bit much. Don’t even bother eating it by the fourth day.

This whole dish comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta, and there’s no need to chill it ahead of time – so you can have dinner on the table in the time it takes to say “Jesus wept.”

For the vinaigrette you’ll need:

  • 1 bunch of fresh basil, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

cenobite sald ingredientsFor the salad you’ll need:

  • 1 lb fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 cup hard salami cut into strips*
  • 1/2 cup smoked turkey cut into strips*
  • 1/4 cup Provolone cheese cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 1 roasted red pepper, cut into strips
  • 3/4 cup green olives, halved
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

* While I enjoy watching the Cenobites turn people into meat, I do not like eating meat. So I used veggie versions of these in my antipasto – 1 pkg smoked Tofurkey and 1 pkg of veggie pepperoni (I haven’t found veg salami yet!)

Then you:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, drain.

While the pasta cooks, combine basil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper in a blender. Blend until the basil and garlic are finely chopped, then with the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is smooth.

In a large bowl, throw the pasta and remaining salad ingredients together. Drizzle with the dressing to coat.

Originally posted on Brutal as Hell, July 2009