A salad that represents the colors of the Italian flag, and sparks of magic in every bite is a winning dish for me! Great to have as a side or main, at home or at a picnic. I give full permission to splurge on Pecorino, Parmigiani Reggiani, and Mozzarella! Just sayin’!
Pesto Pasta Salad
- 1 lb Cavatappi or elbow pasta
- Fresh mozzarella, cubed ciliegine
- 10-12 Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Kosher Salt
- ¼ cup Pine nuts
- 1 clove Garlic
- 2 cups Basil leaves, packed
- ⅓ cup Pecorino Romano, shredded
- ⅓ cup Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 Lemon, zest
- pinch Kosher Salt
- ⅓-⅔ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- In a large pot, boil water with a generous pinch of salt. Cook two minutes under directed times (al diente). Drain, reserving ¾ cup pasta cooking water.
- Meanwhile, add the pine nuts to a food processor to create a thick paste. Then add the garlic clove, pecorino, parmesan, lemon zest, and basil.
- Scrape the sides of the food processor, and process again while drizzling the extra virgin olive oil. I like pesto to be slightly chunky. Just eyeball the olive oil to your liking.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella to the same size. Alternatively, mozzarella balls, also known as ciliegine, can be cut in half as the cherry tomatoes.
- Drain the pasta, and into a large bowl, add the cooked pasta along with the pesto. If too dry, add a little of the pasta water, about a tablespoon. Add the chopped cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, and toss. Eat right away, or refrigerate. Drizzle a little more olive oil, and enjoy!