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Pasta Salad with Blistered Tomatoes, Arugula, and Pesto

Pasta Salad with Blistered Tomatoes, Arugula, and Pesto

I made a big batch of this pasta salad with a few of my favorite ingredients – blistered tomatoes, arugula, and homemade pesto. YUM!! Pasta salad is great to have in the fridge during the summer months because it makes a nice light dinner or a perfect side dish that pairs with any protein. I also like having it on hand for a quick & healthy lunch on busy days. This pasta salad with blistered tomatoes, arugula, and pesto turned out to be so flavorful and delicious – I especially loved how sweet & juicy the blistered tomatoes were.

Pasta Salad with Blistered Tomatoes, Arugula, and Pesto

How to Make a Pasta Salad with Blistered Tomatoes, Arugula, and Pesto

Make the pesto by first toasting the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to allow toasted pine nuts to cool.

In your food processor (or with a mortar and pestle) add garlic and cooled pine nuts then pulse until chopped. Add basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, a bit of sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, then pulse until well blended. Slowly pour the olive oil in while the mixer is on. Make sure to scrape the sides then pulse again until thoroughly mixed. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper if necessary. Seal container with a tight fighting lid and set aside to allow flavors to mingle.

Heat two teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes then season with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, or until the tomatoes have a few blisters but have not burst. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Cook the penne in well-salted boiling water per package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking; drain as much water as possible. Place into a large bowl and toss the pasta with some pesto, to taste, until evenly coated. Place into the refrigerator to allow flavors to mingle for 15 minutes.

Gently toss the tomatoes, arugula, and red onion with the pesto-coated penne. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan and some cracked black pepper, to taste. Serve and enjoy.

Pasta Salad with Blistered Tomatoes, Arugula, and Pesto

Pasta Salad with Blistered Tomatoes, Arugula, and Pesto

Pasta Salad with Blistered Tomatoes, Arugula, and Pesto

Servings: 6
Author: Pam - For the Love of Cooking

Ingredients

Pesto:

  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 4-5 small cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup Parmesan, freshly grated
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup olive oil

Pasta Salad:

  • cups baby grape tomatoes
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 8 oz penne pasta, cooked in salted water, per package instructions
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • ¼ small red onion, sliced thinly Side Note: If the red onion's flavor is too strong, soak the slices in ice water for 10-15 minutes then drain on paper towels before tossing in the pasta.
  • Parmesan, freshly grated

Instructions

Pesto:

  • Make the pesto by first toasting the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to allow toasted pine nuts to cool. 
  • In your food processor (or with a mortar and pestle) add garlic and cooled pine nuts then pulse until chopped.
  • Add basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, a bit of sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, then pulse until well blended.
  • Slowly pour the olive oil in while the mixer is on. Make sure to scrape the sides then pulse again until thoroughly mixed. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper if necessary. Seal container with a tight fighting lid and set aside to allow flavors to mingle. 

Pasta Salad:

  • Heat two teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  
  • Add the tomatoes then season with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, or until the tomatoes have a few blisters but have not burst. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 
  • Cook the penne in well-salted boiling water per package instructions until al dente.
  • Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking; drain as much water as possible.
  • Place into a large bowl and toss the pasta with some pesto, to taste, until evenly coated. Place into the refrigerator to allow flavors to mingle for 15 minutes.
  • Gently toss the tomatoes, arugula, and red onion with the pesto-coated penne. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan and some cracked black pepper, to taste. Serve and enjoy.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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4 Comments

  1. Looks like a great summertime dish! I’ve never made a pasta salad that wasn’t mayo based.