Friday, May 13, 2016

Pesto Pasta Salad


Serves 4-6
Husband-Tested Recipe from Alice Wootton

This is one of those clean-out-the-fridge recipes I made one day that turned out quite good. I used the vegetables that I had in my refrigerator at the time, but you could certainly use other vegetables and even add some cooked chicken.   Pesto is packed with summery flavor.  It’s quite easy to make homemade pesto if you have a food processor. Pesto can be made in advance and put in the freezer. This makes a lovely side dish or a lunchbox main dish. (I served it as a side for dinner along with Turkey Meatloaf.)

4-6 cups whole-wheat pasta (I used a half package of whole-wheat fusilli pasta.)
¼ - 1/3 cup pesto (I used homemade Ramp Pesto.  Homemade Eric’sPesto would also be delicious.)
2 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
3-4 scallions, sliced thin
Handful of baby spinach, chopped
6 cherry tomatoes
½ cup cubed cheese (I used a hard cheese infused with herbs.)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add 1 Tablespoon of Kosher salt to the boiling water.  Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. (Set a timer.  You will add the carrots to the pasta water when the pasta is almost done.)  Meanwhile, scoop the pesto into a large bowl. Prepare the vegetables by slicing or chopping. Set aside the chopped carrots (or other dense vegetables you wish to add to the salad.)  Put the scallions, tomatoes, cheese, spinach and cucumbers in the large bowl with the pesto.  When there is 4 minutes left on the timer for the pasta, add the carrots to the pasta pot. This will cook the carrots a bit so that they are tender.  When the pasta is done, drain the pasta/carrot mix in a colander.  Immediately add the hot pasta/carrot mix to the large bowl. Allow the pasta to soften/melt the pesto a bit (just about a minute) and then toss the salad well so that the pasta and vegetables are well coated.  Add Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Serve as a main dish or as a side. 



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