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Giada's Pesto Pasta Salad

Herby pesto pairs brilliantly with sweet tangy roasted tomatoes and salty bits of feta cheese. Throw it all together with some pasta and zucchini and you might even get your kids to eat their vegetables!

To make things even easier, you can use storebought pesto in place of the homemade version.

Pesto Pasta Salad, Image Credit: Lizzy Newman

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Giada's Pesto Pasta Salad

Rated 5.0 stars by 1 users

Servings

6

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

30 minutes

Author:

Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Giada's Pesto Pasta Salad

Ingredients

    For the Tomatoes and Zucchini:

  • 2 (10 ounce) containers cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 3 medium zucchini, quartered, seeds removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces 

  • 4 sprigs basil

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon Calabrian chili paste, or red pepper flakes

  • For the Dressing:

  • Use your favorite store-bought pesto such as Bio Orto, or make from scratch. Recipe follows:

  • 2 1/2 cups packed basil leaves

  • 1 cup Italian parsley leaves

  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

  • 1 small clove garlic

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, such as Fratepietro
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • For the Salad:

  • 1 pound short pasta, such as Strozzapreti, cooked, drained and cooled to room temperature*
  • 1 (7 ounce) block feta cheese, crumbled, about 2 cups

Instructions

  1. On a rimmed baking sheet combine the tomatoes, zucchini, basil sprigs, garlic, olive oil, salt and chili paste. Toss well to coat evenly. Roast the vegetables for until soft and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool. Remove and discard the basil sprigs and whole garlic.
  2. For the pesto, in the bowl of a food processor combine the basil, parsley, pine nuts and garlic. Puree until roughly chopped. With the motor running drizzle in the olive and salt. Pour the pesto into a bowl and stir in the parmesan cheese.
  3. To the pesto add the cooked and cooled pasta and the cooled vegetables. Stir to evenly coat the pasta in the pesto. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water thin the dressing if needed. Stir in the crumbled feta and serve.
  4. *Cook’s note: Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than suggested on the package directions, about 9 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water, then strain the pasta and spread it on a rimmed baking sheet to cool to room temperature. Do not rinse the pasta. 
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