Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pesto Pasta Salad

I have three different versions of pasta salad in my "repertoire" that I make regularly. One is a tri-color pasta salad with pepperoni cubes, cheddar cheese cubes, artichoke hearts, black olives, onions, green peppers, and Italian dressing. One is a creamy "deviled egg" pasta salad with mayonnaise and mustard, vinegar, sugar, hard-boiled eggs, paprika, and pickles. The one I'm sharing with you today is my third version, the one that is most requested at family gatherings, and definitely Joe's favorite. Since I can't seem to get enough pesto lately, I thought this would be the perfect accompaniment for our prosciutto pork kabobs.

This is a delicious pasta salad. It's creamy and slightly sweet, and it has a nice balance of textures. I love the way the fresh mozzarella just melts in my mouth, almost as much as I love the pop and juiciness of the grape tomatoes. Red onion would be a nice addition to this salad, as would fresh basil or some cubed salami or pepperoni, but I like to keep it pretty straightforward. I hope your family likes this as much as ours does!

Pesto Pasta Salad
source: Cassie

8 ounces short pasta (we usually use shells)
1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise, depending on how creamy you like it (I like it creamy, so I use a full cup)
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons prepared pesto (add more if you like)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 carton fresh ciliegine mozzarella
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions; drain; rinse in cold water; drain again.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar, sugar, pesto, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.

3. Add cooled, drained pasta to dressing; stir pasta to coat. Gently mix in fresh mozzarella and grape tomatoes. Chill until serving.

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