This pasta salad is an excellent summer dish – it’s versatile and a great way to use up fresh summer produce (basil! tomatoes!). Bring it to a potluck, serve it as a side dish, or enjoy it as the main course. Missing the protein? Toss some cubed salami or torn prosciutto into the mix. The best part is it takes nearly no time to throw together when served hot, and no additional effort, just a rest in the fridge, if served cold.
Pesto Pasta Salad
Serves 4 as an entrée, 8 as a side dish
Hands-On Time: 10 min
Total Time (if chilled): 40 min
1 lb pasta (I used penne, but any bite-sized pasta would work well)
2/3 cup pesto (I used this garlic scape pesto)
1 cup reserved pasta water
1 – 2 large tomatoes, cubed, or 8oz cherry tomatoes, halved
8oz fresh mozzarella, cubed, or 8oz mozzarella pearls
Basil, sliced in chiffonade
Salt for pasta water
Cook pasta according to package directions in heavily salted water. Drain, reserving a cup of water from the cooked pasta.
Combine pesto with up to a cup of reserved pasta water (you may not need to use all of it – it should be saucy but not watery). Add pasta and toss to combine.
Optional: If you’re serving chilled, or making ahead, pop it in the fridge now for 30 min – 2 hours. More than that will make the pasta mushy.
Add cubed mozzarella, tomatoes, and about 3/4 of the basil and toss. Top with remaining basil and serve.