From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy.
Pesto Pasta Salad with Feta & Tomatoes
Adapted from Dave Lieberman
Marinated mozzarella balls from Costco are amazing in this dish. Feta provides a great kick if you do not have that option. To make this extra quick, you can use store bought pesto. The pesto can make or break this pasta so you want to use a good one if you choose to do so. Two fresh ones that I like can be found at Central Market on the fresh dip and sauces aisle or Costco has a great pesto as well.
1 pound bow tie pasta (also called farfalle)
3/4 cup pesto
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup crumbled feta cheese or 1 cup marinated mozzarella balls, cut in half
1/2 cup pine nuts
kosher salt and pepper
olive oil, as needed
Step by Step
Toast pine nuts. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread pine nuts in a thin layer on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown. Watch carefully so that they do not burn. Shake the baking sheet if necessary to get them browned evenly.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Stir in the bow ties and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water just until it stops steaming. Drain the pasta well to remove all excess water.
Dump the pasta into a large serving bowl. Stir in the pesto until the pasta is coated. Toss in the cherry tomatoes and the crumbled feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You can make the salad up to about 1 hour before you serve it. Check out the salt and pepper just before you serve the salad. If it's looking a little dry, add some olive oil and stir it around.
To do more prep work in advance, you can make the pasta the day before. Follow the directions on cooling the pasta and draining. Drizzle with olive oil and toss so that the noodles do not stick together. Refrigerate until ready to use.
5 big handfuls basil leaves (about 2 hefty bunches
1/2 cup pine nuts or 3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Juice of 1 small lemon
2 cloves garlic, peeled
About 20 grinds freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients with 1/2 cup of the oil in a blender and blend. Gradually drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup of oil until pesto is thick and smooth.
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
If you have any leftover ingredients, you could make this tomorrow night for dinner!