Summer Staple: Pesto Pasta Salad

To say I enjoy eating pesto would be an understatement. Lately, I have realized there isn’t much I wouldn’t slather it with. From salads to toast, steamed vegetables and pasta, pesto is to me what ketchup is to a 7-year-old (or older..I don’t judge!). It simply gives you a well deserved kick up the taste buds! What’s not to love?

This summer my pesto-inducing-garlic-breath has been a particularly impressive and I owe a special thanks to this recipe. The pesto pasta salad! A dish so heavenly, not only considering it unites pesto and the greatest beige food of all time, but because it’s so darn easy to make and is adaptable to every palate. It may even seem a little silly to write about it since I’m sure we all know some variation of it. However, if it is not the case, it would be downright cruel to keep it a secret.

Ingredients:

Note that although I have added quantities, take it with a grain of salt as the ratio (as well as most of the ingredients) really depends on personal preference.

500 g of pasta – I like Farfalle frankly because it makes me feel fancy, but any “fun pasta” will do!
100 g of arugula – This dainty leaf will give your salad a nice strong peppery tingle. That said, Spinach would also be suitable if you favour a softer tasting green.
30 g of sun-dried tomatoes – The ones in a glass jar are a great (better) option as they are more tender AND you can use the oil they bathe in for the pesto!
30 g of artichoke hearts – It’s not a make or brake ingredient, I only add some in when I’m channeling my inner Jamie Oliver.
125 g of fresh mozzarella (one ball) – I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory.. the flavour sponge of everyone’s dreams.
25 g of shredded parmesan cheese – serves as a garnish as well as an added salty crunch.

For the pesto:

1 basil plant
20 g of parmesan cheese
A handful of toasted pine nuts
30 ml of olive oil
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
A pinch of salt and pepper

Preperation:

  1. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water according to the required time found on the packet.
  2. Prep your other ingredients – cube the mozzarella, clean the arugula, chop the tomatoes and artichoke hearts, and shave the parmesan. Toss it all into a serving bowl and add in the pasta once drained and cooled.
  3. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a clean dry pan over low heat. Patience is key as these little nuggets tend to burn on short notice of they feel neglected – always keep a close eye on them and giggle them around once in a while.
  4. In a blender(or any other kitchen gadget that shreds food to bits) add in the basil leaves, the pine nuts, the grated parmesan, the minced garlic, the salt and pepper, and the olive oil. I would add the latter quite gradually to ensure the consistency is spot on. Sometimes, I’ll put in a little more if I want the pesto to go further.
  5. mix everything together and enjoy!

There we have it! It’s takes less than 20 minutes to make, celebrates everything that is wonderful about this fleeting season, and is always the first to go at picnics. Basically the ratio of effort put in to complements received is one of the best out there! I hope you’ve enjoyed and give it a go yourself.

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