Pesto Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
My dear friend A. just graduated this past week! She has been attending George Mason University where she received her Master’s in Public Administration, while working full time (we met at work), being a great dog-owner and being an awesome friend to me. We take daily walks together to chat about life, and food. It’s awesome.
Anyway, to celebrate her newly hooded status, she threw a barbeque at her house. She supplied the hamburgers, which is a little ironic since she is a vegetarian but we don’t have to dwell on that, and the guests brought their favorite side dish. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel quite pressured when thinking about bringing a dish to someone’s house. Maybe it’s because all I talk about is food, and I love food, and have a blog about food where I write about food and take pictures of food, and at times it seems like my life revolves around food. So, sometimes I put myself under a little bit of pressure to make a really great dish.
In the winter time I think that this is a little bit easier. When it’s cooler outside, making a more luxurious dish with some extra butter, or heavy cream is generally well accepted by a crowd. But in the summer, and by summer I mean that it is supposed to be 96 degrees here in Washington, DC on June 1st, butter and heavy cream are a little frowned upon for being too heavy when the humidity impedes even breathing on occasion. So, I was trying to think about what would make an impressive dish, while remaining cool and refreshing.
I thought about what my favorite thing to eat in the summer is: caprese salad. The layers of perfectly ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and in my case, drizzled with some fresh pesto, all come together beautifully and make for a delightful dish. So why not just cut those ingredients up, and pour the pesto over some al dente pasta and go from there? And that’s exactly what I did. The tomatoes were baby heirloom tomatoes, which added a bunch of different colors, and the pesto added in just the right amount of seasoning. It was the perfect compliment to the organic, grass-fed hamburgers.
1 pound box of your favorite store bought pasta, small in shape
1/2 cup of pesto, homemade or store bought
1 pound of tomatoes, chopped
12 ounces of mozzarella cheese, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the pasta to the directions on the box. If you are in a rush, slightly over cook the pasta, and when it’s draining in the sink run cold water on it. This will stop the cooking process and cool the pasta down.
Meanwhile, chop up the tomatoes and the mozzarella, and set them aside.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, pesto, tomatoes and mozzarella. Combine well and check for seasoning. Add in any salt and pepper as needed.