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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pesto Pasta Salad with Spinach, Green Beans and Tomatoes

This pasta salad is full of good greens ~ fresh basil, green beans and spinach, I added sundried tomatoes but sliced mini heirloom tomatoes would be great too.   It is really scrumptious!!!    It is adapted from Ina Garten's wonderful recipe: Pasta, Pesto, and Peas.  This was one of my sides at a recent BBQ, I cooked sooo many different things and was so busy with preparations and serving that day that I did not get much good food pics ~ but the food and company was very well enjoyed :)
Serving of the Pesto Pasta Salad with the Table Caprese Salad
1 1/2 cups Pasta - Fusilli or Bow Tie, I used these cool swirly pasta - Riccette found at an Italian specialty store
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups pesto (recipe below) or used packaged pesto
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 Tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 cup fresh green beens - steamed or boiled until just tender, chopped in 1/2" pieces
1 small jar of sundried tomatoes drained and chopped, or 1 pint mini heirloom tomatoes, sliced
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water as directed on package, drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil.  Cool to room temp.  In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, puree the pesto, spinach and lemon juice.  Add the mayo and puree.  Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pesto and then add the parmesan, beans, tomatoes, salt and pepper  Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temp, or make ahead and refrigerate. 
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pignoli nuts (pine nuts)
3 Tbsps chopped garlic - about 9 cloves
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
 1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly gound black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
Place the walnuts, pignoli and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade.  Process for 15 seconds.  Add the basil, salt and pepper, with the processor running slowly pour in the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed.  Add the parmesan and puree for one more minute.