Pesto Pasta Salad with al dente pasta, bocconcini, and juicy cherry tomatoes tossed in a rich pesto sauce. It’s a light yet satisfying delicious lunch meal that’s sure to please the crowd!
Have I told you I love pesto? I love that it is so quick and easy to make, just a handful of ingredients, a few whirls in the food processor and you have a batch that stores well for days in the refrigerator and complements most dishes. I love it drizzled over baked fish, on rice and of course, this pesto pasta salad.
Dinner can’t get any easier than this, you guys! I made my own pesto sauce because, you know, I like punishing myself with more work, but you can very well pick up a jar of your trusted brand and have this pasta dish ready in a pinch.
This pesto pasta is pretty flexible, feel free to add more or less of the pesto sauce, fresh mozzarella, or cherry tomatoes according to your taste. I love how the sauce gets into every crook and cranny of the fusilli but you can swap your favorite noodle. The recipe can be easily doubled and leftovers keep well in the fridge and are just as awesome next day for packed lunches to work. Enjoy!
Pesto Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
- 1 cup mini boconccini (fresh mozzarella balls)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- Parmesan cheese
For the Pesto Sauce (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
- In a pot over medium heat, bring about 4 quarts salted water to a rolling boil. Add penne and cook according to package directions for about 11 to 13 minutes or until firm to bite.
- Remove from heat. Rinse with cold water and drain well.
- In a food processor, combine pine nuts, basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and pepper until smooth.
- In a serving bowl, combine cooked pasta, boconccini, cherry tomatoes, and pesto sauce. Stir well to combine. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Refrigerate to chill and allow flavors to meld. Serve cold.
First Published on January, 14, 2013.