It’s been a hot couple of days here in New York. I mean super super hot. The funny thing is though, it hasn’t stopped me from wanting pasta. I just want it cold now. I thought a bright summery pesto pasta salad would do just the trick.
Pesto couldn’t be easier to make – using just a few ingredients and either a blender or food processor. It’s such a flavorful condiment to have on hand for salads, sandwiches, pasta, the list goes on and on!
4-5 cups basil leaves (washed and dried well)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
1/2 – 3/4 cups olive oil
salt to taste
Using a food processor or blender puree all of the ingredients while streaming in the olive oil. Once it’s reached a nice smooth consistency taste for salt. You may want to add a teaspoon or so. Scrape down the sides of the processor, add salt and puree for a few more seconds and voila! Pesto!
For the pesto pea and cherry tomato pasta salad you’ll need:
1 cup (or more depending on your pesto preference) homemade pesto
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 8oz package frozen peas
1 box short noodle pasta such as shells, fusilli, penne, etc.
1 t red pepper flakes
zest of 2 lemons
extra Parmesan cheese
I use wheat pasta when I can, (my attempt at being good while still indulging) so I chose whole wheat shells for this particular pasta salad. I like that all the ingredients are about the same size and the pesto really gets stuck in all the grooves of the pasta shells – yum.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions in boiling salted water. Meanwhile defrost the peas and halve the cherry tomatoes. Set aside in a large bowl. Once the pasta is done cooking gather it along with the pesto, tomatoes and peas in the large bowl.Toss well to combine and season with the lemon zest and red pepper flake. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. Enjoy with more Parmesan cheese on top, over some greens or simply on its own. The perfect way to get your pasta fix in this insane heat!