Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Basil and Fresh Mozzarella

I've wanted to try this pasta salad out ever since I saw it weeks ago on Pioneer Woman's website. I love the combination of fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes, and they make me think of summer. It's the perfect salad for right now. If you're a traditional pesto lover, you'll love this pesto as well with it's sun-dried tomato base. I used my own sun-dried tomatoes but jarred tomatoes work as well.

For the pesto:
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (approximately), or a 7 oz jar of store-bought sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil (or more)
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1-2 garlic cloves

For the salad:
1 lb rotini pasta, cooked and drained
1/2 cup olives, roughly chopped (you can use black, kalamata, green or a mixture)
2 large tomatoes, diced
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into chunks
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
10-15 basil leaves, chopped

In a small saucepan, cover sun-dried tomatoes with water and gently boil for about 5 minutes. Drain and add tomatoes to a small food processor or blender along with the rest of the pesto ingredients. Blend well.

In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta and pesto to your liking. Toss to coat well. Add the rest of the salad ingredients and toss again to coat. Garnish with extra grated parmesan cheese and basil.

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