When I was applying for the newspaper job that brought me to Greensboro, some reporters took me to lunch to give me the scoop on what it would be like to work here.
At the restaurant, my lunch companions told me I had to try the pesto pasta salad.
A garlickly dish filled with green bits to get caught in my teeth and juicy red tomatoes to stain my interview clothes?
Sure, why not? What could go wrong?
Though reporters can be prickly types with odd senses of humor, it turns out my soon-to-be-colleagues weren’t subjecting me to some cruel hazing ritual.
They just knew good food! And they knew I wouldn’t be able to say no to a job at the newspaper once I’d tasted Liberty Oak’s pesto pasta salad.
Yep, it’s that good!
After years of study and taste testing, I’ve come up with a make-at-home version as tasty as the original.
Made with grape tomatoes…
… basil pesto, English peas, red onion and parmesan cheese, this pesto pasta salad is the perfect spring or summertime side dish. It’s also great for potlucks and picnics or sharing with your neighbors.
If you have a favorite pesto recipe, then by all means, use it as the base of this pasta salad. (Just be sure to add lots of garlic!)
But if time is tight, or your basil crop hasn’t come in, then it’s perfectly fine to use prepared pesto. That’s what I normally do because I’m always looking for a shortcut in the kitchen.
- 1 lb spiral pasta
- 10 ounces prepared basil pesto
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup red onion, chopped
- 2 cups English peas
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil
- Olive oil (optional)
- Prepare pasta according to package directions, cooking until al dente.
- Drain pasta and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process and cool the pasta.
- Transfer pasta to a large bowl and combine with tomatoes, onions and peas.
- Add prepared pesto and toss to coat.
- Add grated parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate throughout the pasta salad.
- If the pasta salad is too dry for your taste, add some olive oil.
- Refrigerate and serve cold.
Looking for another refreshing salad?
Here’s a fresh take on potato salad that is one of my favorites.