Pesto Pasta Salad
Every other Monday we’ll be spotlighting a #meatlessmonday recipe. Quick and nutritious, these recipes and guides are perfect for on the go meals; good for you and the planet.
Pesto Pasta Salad
For this #meatlessmonday we’re sharing a perfect summer-time treat. Pesto Pasta salad is a delicious room temperature, picnic-ready meal!
This classic version of pesto pasta features a yummy homemade basil-and-pine nut pesto, a generous amount of parmesan cheese, and ripe grape tomatoes. Any short pasta will do as long as it has good texture to snag the sauce. Fusilli or penne are the most classic, but feel free to use your own favorite shape. Finish it off with your best olive oil to really bring out the flavor.
- 1 lb. short pasta, such as fusilli or penne
- 1/4 c. pine nuts
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c. basil leaves
- 1/4 c. finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 pt. grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup pasta water, then drain pasta in a colander. Rinse and transfer pasta to a large bowl to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium-low heat, cook pine nuts until just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Let cool.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine pine nut-garlic mixture, basil, Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse five or six times until mostly smooth. Add reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse to reach desired texture.
- Add pesto and cherry tomatoes to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve topped with additional Parmesan.
You can make the pesto up to 3 days ahead, just wait to add the water until the day of serving. Transfer to an airtight container and top with a glug of olive oil, which will help the pesto maintain its pretty, nearly emerald green color. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
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Matthias, A. K. (2022, May 16). Pesto pasta salad will be the first thing gone at every picnic. Delish. Retrieved July 19, 2022.