Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ridiculously Easy Recipe: Pesto Pasta Salad

As summer draws to a close for the rest of the country, Florida summer rages on. Today the temperature was 86 degrees and it won’t be getting any cooler for at least another 3 months.

So while the rest of America can begin to embrace boots, jackets, and cocoa weather, we in Florida can enjoy this cool pasta salad (and our bikinis) for a little longer! 

I love, love, love basil pesto. It’s nutty, it’s slightly sweet and it’s perfect with pasta. The best part is you can use it sparingly and still come out ahead with tons of flavor. I prefer to buy my pesto from the store (Bertoli makes a great one!) but feel free to make your own with fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, and olive oil.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Makes approximately 8, ½ cup servings.

  • 2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto (or make your own!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups cooked bowtie (farfelle) pasta
  • 1 cup cubed, fresh mozzarella
  • 1 cup fresh spinach chiffonade*
  • ½ cup pepperoni slices, cut into quarters
  • Salt, and pepper, to taste

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the pesto and olive oil. 
  2. Add the still warm bowties, and spinach and stir to combine. The heat from the pasta will slightly wilt the spinach. 
  3. Gently fold in the pepperoni and mozzarella. 
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Serve immediately or chill for 4-24 hours. 
  6. Garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese,  if desired.

(*to chiffonade, simply roll a handful of spinach leaves tightly then thinly slice into strips. It’s more visually pleasing than torn spinach and you won’t get big hunks of greens in every bite!)

Simple, Delicious, Done!

Shauna E

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