Having recently made a batch of Roasted Red Pepper Pesto, since I was to be attending a cookout over the weekend, I decided to try something new and use the Pesto in a Pasta Salad. Not having made this salad before, and not being one to experiment on people outside the immediate family, I decided to make a trial run earlier in the week. That left me with a little less pesto than I would have wanted for the ginormous batch I ended up making for the cookout. Soooo, I'm posting the recipe below for a "normal" amount of pasta salad with a heartier ratio of dressing to pasta.
The other thing I noted when making the trial run was that it was super salty. The grocery stores in our area all sport olive bars, so those are the olives that I use. When making the second batch, I added some of the olives to the salad, then gave the rest a quick rinse to reduce the salty brine, and included a can of Lindsay Olives because they're not salty. You could cut back on the olives or the feta to reduce the salt, but that's no fun! I want a little of everything in each bite. ;)
1 lb rotini pasta
1 1/2 - 2 c Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
3 T olive oil
3 T white balsamic vinegar
2 c mixed pitted olives
2-3 oz crumbled Feta cheese
2 oz thick-sliced pepperoni, quartered
- Cook the pasta in salted water to al dente; drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, blend the olive oil and balsamic vinegar into the pesto, to create a dressing.
- Toss the hot pasta with enough dressing to coat, then place it in the fridge to cool for a few minutes - you don't want to add your feta to hot pasta, but you want to use a little of the dressing to prevent the pasta from sticking/clumping together.
- When the pasta has cooled to the touch and sucked up the initial round of dressing, go ahead and stir in the remaining dressing, olives, feta, and pepperoni
- Chill until just before serving