Basil Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

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This Basil Pesto Pasta Salad is great recipe to use your fabulous summer vine-ripened tomatoes. In the winter season, I like to use my Slow-Roasted Tomatoes in this recipe. This pasta dish is delicious no matter which type of tomatoes that you use!

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Basil Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe:

Recipe Type: Pasta, Tomato, Basil, Basil Pesto
Yields: 2 servings
Prep time: 15 min


1/4 cup Basil Pesto (see recipe below)
1/4 pound pasta of your choice
2 peeled and diced vine-ripened tomatoes or slow-roasted tomatoes
Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Basil Leaves
Parmesan Cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano) Shavings

*A good-quality prepared (store-bought) basil pesto may be substituted.


Prepare Basil Pesto. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Learn How To Cook Pasta Properly.

Just before draining the pasta into a colander, remove 1/4 cup of pasta water; set aside. Drain the pasta, put back in the pot, and then stir in the prepared Basil Pesto and the reserved pasta water, a little at a time, to create a sauce.

Add diced tomatoes and toss to coat thoroughly.

Transfer onto individual serving plates and garnish with sliced fresh basil leaves and shavings of Parmesan cheese.

Makes 2 servings.

Basil Pesto:

Basil Pesto

You will have more pesto than you need for the above recipe. You can make a smaller amount of this pesto recipe, but I encourage you to make the full recipe. It will disappear quickly on bread, pizza, toast, baked potatoes, etc.

3 cups (3 ounces) fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano)

Wash the basil leaves, discard the stems, and dry thoroughly.

In a blender, add garlic, pine nuts, and salt; process for approximately 15 seconds. Add basil leaves: using pulse technique, turning on and off, to shred the basil. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil to create a coarse mash. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse to combine.

Makes approximately 1 cup.

Storing Basil Pesto:

The pesto will keep for up to 4 weeks in a covered container in the refrigerator. Pour a thin film of olive oil on top of the pesto to prevent discoloration. For longer storage, do not add the Parmesan cheese until ready to use. Below are some ideas on how to freeze pesto:

  • Spoon the pesto into a foil-lined custard cup; cover tightly with foil and freeze. Once frozen, remove the foil-wrapped packet and store in a freezer bag for up to 2 to 3 months.

  • To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or remove from the foil and thaw quickly in the microwave. Add Parmesan cheese just before serving.

  • Freeze in ice cube trays.

  • Spoon into a zip-lock bag and freeze.


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