my sister-in-law, the lovely cierra, brought this pasta salad to one of our birthday party cookouts and i fell in love. served cold, its the perfect dinner to throw together in the cool of the morning and stick in the fridge for later. great for lunch too. put it in the cooler for the beach! suddenly the 22 basil plants i put in the garden don't feel so much like overkill. i love pesto! first grab 2 cups of basil and all the ingredients for a basic pesto recipe::
my recipe for pesto can be found here. now lets get to the pasta salad. i make mine a bit differently than cierra. i believe she used some red onions and queso fresco along with the other ingredients. which was absolutely delicious. but since raw onions don't sit too well with me, i decided to put the emphasis on the insalata caprese side of this dish::
here's the simple recipe:: 1 pound pasta of choice (penne here), 1 full batch basil pesto, 2 packages of grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella. i slice the tomatoes on the bias and just roughly chunk the cheese. after a thorough stirring, add plenty of fresh basil leaves as a garnish/fifth ingredient, this will really bring out the caprese flavor::
see? the perfect cool pasta salad dinner, for all these hot and humid nights. this full batch fed our family of six for two nights with some leftover for lunch! cut it in half as you will. and stick the extra half batch of pesto in the freezer. now you can make it in a couple of weeks while hardly lifting a finger!