A fast, delicious and seasonal dish that will delight your crowd in less than 30 minutes. Serve as a vegetarian entree, add protein for a heartier main meal or serve as a side for your next BBQ. However you serve it, it’s a guaranteed hit!
Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad
- 1 lb favorite medium sized pasta penne, fusilli, campanella, etc
- 1/3 cup raw unsalted nuts of choice (pine nuts or slivered almonds)
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup to ¾ cup olive oil
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 8 oz log fresh mozzarella cubed
- Bring a large stock pot of generously salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta. Cook until al dente, 1-2 minutes less than package instructions.
- While pasta is cooking, prepare pesto. Toast nuts in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned.
- Place nuts and remaining pesto ingredients (through black pepper) in a food processor. Pulse to break up nuts and incorporate basil and Parmesan. Begin to blend and while blending, drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Adjust level of oil to reach desired consistency.
- Drain pasta and reserve one cup of pasta water.
- In a large bowl, combine drained pasta and pesto. Gently mix until pesto covers pasta. If necessary, add some reserved pasta water to get desired sauce consistency. Add tomatoes and mozzarella and gently combine.
- In a large bowl, combine drained pasta and pesto. Gently mix until pesto covers pasta. Add tomatoes and mozzarella and gently combine.
- Serve immediately. Add fresh basil to top for garnish, if desired.