Friday, July 6, 2012

Picnic Pesto Pasta Salad

A few days ago I got fed up with arugula and turned a huge bunch of it into a very tasty pesto.  However, it is also a very potent pesto.  So its consumption has been slow.  Thankfully, a picnic party presented itself.  Potluck style.  Perfect.

Presto...Picnic presto pasta.

The salad recipe is my own, using Driftless Organic's arugula pesto recipe

serves 8-10

The Ingredients:
16 oz dry farfelle, rigatoni or other pasta of your choice
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup pesto
1 1/2 cup fresh or previously frozen peas
1 large red bell pepper, cut julienne
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup green olives, sliced
2 Tbsp capers, drained
salt and pepper to taste

The Process:
Cook the pasta al dente and drain.  Transfer to a large bowl and toss with olive oil.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.  Serve chilled or room temperature.

The Review:
The secret to this dish is truly in the pesto.  So use your favorite variety.  I am a huge advocate of homemade whenever possible...that and I had a ton of leftover pesto...but many a store bought variety with suffice.  I love the salty, briny flavors added by the olives and capers, coupled with the sweet crunch of the peppers and tomatoes.

One of the best things about dishes like this is its adaptability.  Throw in whatever veggies you want...broccoli, artichoke hearts, zucchini...

Or a bit of meat?  Why not.  Leftover rotisserie chicken or even bites of salami would work wonderfully.  

Everybody has a favorite combination..

What's yours?

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