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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Walnut-Arugula Pesto Pasta Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Pasta salads are a great go-to summer meal, easy, fresh and cold, no oven required!  The variations are really endless.  Today I used mini bow tie pasta and mixed it with a homemade pesto, mini heirloom tomatoes and marinated mozzarella ~ healthy, colorful and yummy!  So avoid that oven this summer, be creative and make your own fresh pasta salad :)
 Recipe:
1/2 box mini bowtie pasta or pasta of choice
1 container mini heirloom tomatoes or cut up tomatoes of your choice - about 1 1/2 -2 cups
1 container marinated mozzarella balls, cut in 1/2, reserve marinade
fresh basil
About 1/2 of the prepared pesto recipe below or to taste

Pesto:  1/4 cup walnut halves - toasted just until fragrant.  2 cups cleaned fresh arugula.  1 cup cleaned fresh basil.  3 Tbs grated parmigiana cheese.  1 garlic clove
4 Tbs olive oil. Kosher salt.  
Transfer cooled walnuts, arugula, basil, cheese and garlic to a food processor and process until finely chopped.  Add olive oil and process until blended.  Stir in salt to taste.  

Cook pasta according to package directions, strain and let cool.  Mix in about 2 Tbsp of the reserved mozzarella marinade so that pasta does not stick together while cooling. Place in refrigerator to speed up cooling.  While cooling, prepare pesto.  When pasta has cooled, add desired amount of pesto (I used a little less than 1/2 of my mixture), tomatoes and fresh torn basil and mix with pasta, then add mozzarella and toss together.  Garnish with more fresh basil if desired, refrigerate until ready to serve.
 
Enjoy!

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