Pesto Pasta Salad

Our friends’ invitation to barbecue this weekend was the perfect opportunity to use our homemade pesto in a different application. I’ve used it in so many great ways that I can’t wait for my basil seedlings to become full-fledged plants (fingers crossed). Right now they are pretty tiny.

I don’t think pasta salad qualifies as anything gourmet, per se, but it qualifies as delicious. And that is the important thing.

I would like to take this moment to point out that I sewed the napkin in this photo on my very own. I spent probably four hours at the sewing machine this weekend, making napkins and altering clothes. I took in a shirt and also a jacket that has been slightly too wide for about four years. Now, instead of a wide jacket, it’s a cute, fitted one. I’m so¬† proud!

This recipe is for a large batch – we are talking about 8 servings or more – perfect for bringing somewhere for a group or for making a several lunches ahead of time. And it’s easy to divide down, of course.

Here’s what I put into our pasta salad for the weekend:

  • 1 lb. bowtie pasta
  • 2-3 chopped radishes
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups mayo
  • 1/2 cup milk or half and half
  • 3 very heaping Tbsp. homemade pesto

Cook your pasta to al dente and drain, discarding the water. Put it back in the pot and toss with the tiniest bit of olive oil so the pasta does not stick together and allow to cool completely. You can work on the veggies in the meantime, and just toss them in the pot.

Next, in the bowl you’ll serve it in (just to save dishes), first add 1/2 cup of mayo. Using a whisk to stir it together, add milk 1/4 cup at a time to the mayo. You are looking for a dressing about half the thickness of the mayo. If you go too far, just add more mayo and bring it back a little bit more. It’s important to work mayo-first here – working with the liquid first will usually mean you’ll overshoot how much you need. Stir in the pesto now as well.

Toss the dressing in with the salad to coat – not too thick! Add freshly-ground black pepper to the top of the salad. Chill for 2-3 hours before serving.

1 Comment »

  1. I love pasta salad! It’s a perfect side for spring and summer events. For family Easter I whipped up a really basic pasta salad with rotini noodles, basil, and a sweet honey mustard vinaigrette.

    And way to go with the sewing!! You’ll be a seamstress before you know it.

    Comment by MaryK — April 16, 2012 @ 8:46 am

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