Summer has turned up the heat outdoors and as a result my gardens are growing like crazy. My big pots of basil are flourishing and seem to double in size overnight. My tomato plants are happier than ever and are producing an abundance of cherry tomatoes. And my bean plants have gotten their second wind and are popping out green beans left and right. So, you can imagine my delight when I came across this recipe for Summer Pasta Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette that listed basil, tomatoes and green beans as ingredients. With a box of healthy Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Tie Pasta in my pantry and a bag of peas in my freezer, this Summer Pasta Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette was destined to be my dinner.
To begin, clip enough basil leaves to lightly pack and fill 1 ½ cups with leaves. If you don’t have basil growing nearby, you can find it easily this time of year at a farmers market or the grocery store.
Put the basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Taste the pesto vinaigrette and add salt as needed. I love the little bit of zing the vinegar adds to this pesto. Set aside.
Rinse off the green beans, trim the ends and cut them into 2-inch pieces.
Then bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and drop in the green beans. Cook them until they’re just crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
Keep the water boiling and remove the green beans with a slotted spoon.
Transfer the beans to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain and cool.
Next, drop the peas into the water and cook for a minute or two. I used frozen peas, but fresh peas work just as well if you have them.
Keep the water boiling and scoop the peas out of the pot and onto the paper towel-lined baking sheet with the green beans. Set aside.
Add the Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Ties to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta thoroughly and pour it onto a rimmed baking sheet. Toss the pasta with a little bit of olive oil to prevent sticking and set aside to cool. Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Ties not only add some healthy whole grains to this dish, but also hold up really well when tossed with the pesto and vegetables. The whole wheat gives these bow ties a tastier flavor and a more firm, but not tough, bite. Most white flour pastas would turn to mush in this kind of recipe.
Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet until lightly browned. Remove pine nuts to a paper towel and set aside.
Put the pasta, beans, peas and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl. Aren’t these colors beautiful?
Pour half of the pesto vinaigrette into the bowl and toss everything together. Add more pesto as needed to moisten the pasta. Be careful not to overdress it; I had about a 1/3 of a cup of pesto leftover.
Add the toasted pine nuts to the mixture and toss again. Let the salad rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together and then taste again. Add more pesto if necessary - I added about another tablespoonful. Dinner’s ready!
This Summer Pasta Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette is bursting with summer flavors from the fresh basil pesto vinaigrette to the crisp green beans, sun-ripened cherry tomatoes and sweet green peas. All of these ingredients, along with Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Ties, come together into a delicious pasta salad that’s sure to make your taste buds dance. Whether you harvest your own herbs and vegetables, beg some off of a neighbor or purchase them at the market, be sure to add this Summer Pasta Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette to your summer cooking to do list. My gardens have already replenished themselves since I last made this dish, so I know it’ll be back on the menu again soon. Enjoy!
Summer Pasta Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette
Adapted from Fine Cooking
- 1 1/2 cups basil, lightly packed, fresh leaves
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh
- 2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
- kosher salt to taste
- 3/4 lb green beans, fresh, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 lb Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Ties
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Adapted from Fine Cooking
To make the pesto vinaigrette, put the basil, olive oil, cheese, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Taste then season with salt as needed. Set aside.
To make the pasta salad, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisp tender, about 4 minutes. Remove the beans with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Keep the pot of water boiling and add in the peas, cooking for a minute. Remove the peas from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the paper towel-lined baking sheet with the green beans. Set aside to cool.
Add the pasta to the boiling pot of water and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta thoroughly and pour it onto a rimmed baking sheet. Toss the pasta with the olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside to cool. Put the pasta, beans, peas and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl. Add half of the pesto vinaigrette to the bowl and toss; you won’t need all of the pesto. Add the pine nuts and toss again. Allow the salad to rest for 10-15 minutes to give the flavors a chance to meld together. Taste again and add more pesto vinaigrette if needed. Serve immediately.
Makes 8-10 servings.