pesto pasta salad

Posted on July 23, 2013

Last week I was lucky to attend an awesome blogging conference Alt Design Summit. It was fun and inspiring and I’m buried under a mountain of insanely cute business cards from all of my new bloggy friends. I’ll share more soon, but since I know you’re hungry, here is a recipe for a quick, easy and delicious pesto pasta salad.

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Pesto pasta is an old standby here. I make it about every other week in the summer when basil is in season and readily available. We usually have it for lunch over the course of a few days. It is fresh, flavorful and cheap. Plus you can through a little of whatever you’ve got lying around in it and it still turns out pretty good. I guess pesto just works miracles like that.

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Pesto Pasta Salad
For the pesto
1 bunch basil (we used a small bunch of basil and some arrugula which was a day or two past its prime)
1 lemon, zest and juice
1-2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts are the standard, but we’ve used pecans and walnuts also)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 olive oil
salt and pepper

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In the bowl of a food processor combine basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic nuts and parmesan. Pulse until you’ve got a coarse paste. Now turn the food processor on and drizzle olive oil in through the top hole until the pesto comes together and everything is chopped uniformly. Season with salt and pepper.

For the pasta salad
1 lb dry pasta
1 can whole pitted olives
8 oz mini mozzarella balls
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 batch of pesto

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Bring a pot of water to boil. Salt it until it tastes like sea water. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse for a minute or two with cold water. Combine pasta, olives, mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Serve at room temperature or cold.

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This pasta salad recipe is super flexible. You can add more veggies—blanched green beans are great, kidney beans or chick peas are a good way to make it heartier, marinated artichokes would be lovely too! Just remember that more sauce is better when you’re making a pasta that you’ll refrigerate and eat over a few days. Without enough sauce, the pasta will seem dry, bland and rather sad.

-Emily