5.18.11: What’s for dinner Wednesday? Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto anyone?

Fresh pesto tastes amazing yet I always forget how easy it is to make! Recently, while doing the weekly grocery shopping I passed the basil containers and recalled a cold pesto pasta salad I had in Italy that was delicious. Thanks to a quick tutorial from my friend’s aunt who introduced us to this dish, it is easy to make! It’s perfect for summer and you can serve hot or cold. Like I said, I prefer it cold.  Serve with flavored sausage like artichoke heart or sundried tomato. Also a hit with grilled chicken!

Shopping List:
Fresh basil leaves
Pine nuts or walnuts
Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
Garlic Cloves
Grape Tomatoes
Mozzarella Cheese Balls
Bowtie/Capellini/your choice of pasta

Meat of your choice (see above)

This recipe from Simple Recipes is the fastest!

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Special equipment needed: A food processor

1. Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

2. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

You can cook the pasta while you are making the pesto. Once the pasta and the pesto are finished (if serving cold, run cold water over the pasta and be sure to refrigerate for an hour before you serve, otherwise), combine pasta, pesto, tomatoes and cheese balls in a large bowl, stir and serve!

Perfect summer lunch or dinner…Buon Appetito!

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