I love a good and refreshing pasta salad during the summer.
There is something about enjoying a delicious pasta salad in the heat, especially one that combines the essential summer ingredients, such as tomatoes and basil.
I don’t know what it is, but there is no better smell in the world than a heaping bunch of fresh basil plucked right out of the garden (or produce isle at Wegmans- one day I’ll have my own garden to frolic around in, ONE DAY).
When I smell the scent of basil, I automatically think of pesto, and what better way to make pesto a summer dish?
I love using pesto, especially with tomatoes. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because the flavors of the basil leaves, pine nuts and acid in the tomatoes just mix so well.
It’s like a party of flavors in your mouth and when you add lemon, oh boy, the party just became rampant!
So, why combine all these ingredients together?
To make a rampant pasta salad!
This pasta salad recipe makes for a great BBQ or cookout side dish.
I made this salad for a gathering and everyone was going back for seconds, just for the pasta salad!
This recipe is so simple, yet bursting with flavor. You will be surprised by what just 3 flavors can do when mixed together.
Roasted Tomatoes and Pesto Pasta Salad
Yields: 8 servings
yields about 1 cup
2 cups packed fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 to 1 cup olive oil (depending on your desired taste and texture)
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
For the salad
1-13 oz. box Rotini or Penne pasta (I prefer penne but only had rotini)
1 cup (6 oz) pesto
4 Roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 lemons, juiced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
To prepare the pesto, combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor until it forms a thick paste. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil and pulse until fully combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add additional oil for the desired texture. Once pesto has been mixed, fold in the parmesan cheese. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta for 8-10 minutes until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, roast the tomatoes. Place tomatoes in a mixing bowl and add olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Mix and place on a baking sheet to bake in the oven at 300 °F for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven, peel off the skin, roughly chop and deseed the tomatoes and set aside.
Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, or until they just start to brown. Do not toast the pine nuts if you already have toasted pine nuts.
When the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and place it in a large mixing bowl. Immediately add the pesto and parmesan cheese and fold to cover all of the pasta. Then mix in the roasted tomatoes, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, toasted pine nuts and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the salt and pepper. Add more lemon, salt and pepper if you feel that your pasta absorbed all the seasonings, if it was left in the fridge overnight.