I don’t think I have ever been to an Italian wedding without finding Rosa Marina Salad on the table. It is always made lovingly by one or more of the Italian ladies in the family. I even attended a fully catered wedding once (rather than the usual ones where the ladies in the family cook for days prior to the wedding to supply all the food) and there it was – a huge bowl of Rosa Marina Salad available for the guests to enjoy!!!
Rosa Marina Salad is made from Rosa Marina pasta and can be a dessert or side dish – whatever works for the occassion it is being made for. It is very sweet, so dessert is usually the choice, but not so sweet that it couldn’t hold it’s own on a plate along side of a grilled burger or steak! This dish always brings back fond memories for me and I really enjoy making it and seeing the surprised looks on people’s faces that have never tried it before. At first, they think it might be a rice dish, like rice pudding or something – then, when they taste it, they are hooked!!! ha-ha-ha
As I said – the dish is supposed to be made with Rosa Marina pasta – unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find Rosa Marina pasta this far south!!! So, I began to substitue Orzo pasta! Orzo is the closest thing I have been able to find to Rosa Marina – it is a small rice-looking pasta – and works out very well.
Try this and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!!
Rosa Marina Salad
1 pound box Rosa Marina Macaroni
*This is hard to find around here. I substitute Orzo Pasta when I can’t find Rosa Marina. Don’t use Rice – it won’t soak up and swell, like pasta does.
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
1 large can crushed pineapple
1 large can mandarin oranges
2 8 oz containers of Cool Whip
Cook Rosa Marina or Orzo Pasta per instructions on box for “al dente”. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
Separate the fruit from the juice. Refrigerate fruit for use later. Use juice in next step.
Cook eggs, sugar, salt, flour, and the juice from the cans of fruit together until thickened. Stir or whisk to keep smooth while thickening. Consistency should be like a milky, thick gravy.
Pour sauce over macaroni and stir to coat thoroughly. This should be rather soupy. Refrigerate overnight to allow sauce to soak into macaroni.
The next day, the mixture will be firm and usually solid – sauce will be all soaked in. Use a spoon or spatula to break up the macaroni.
As close to serving time as possible, fold in the fruit and Cool Whip thoroughly. Serve chilled.
NOTE: A single batch as outlined above is usually enough for most small gatherings.