Summer has come to a close but you wouldn't know it in California, so what are you bringing to the cookout? Pesto pasta Salad, a classic cookout dish and we're bringing you a simple recipe that's packed with flavor, color, and texture. Full of freshness with pesto, bell peppers, zucchini, onion, tomato, and olives. And the star of the dish, pearl mozzarella.
Pesto Pasta Salad fixings
There's a lot more prep than actual cooking involved here. Start by boiling your pasta (we used cavatappi) according to the directions on the box, we're looking for al dente here.
Once cooked, drain the pasta into a colander and shock in an ice bath. Once cooled, drain and set aside.
Now to prep out all of our other ingredients. Dice the yellow, red, and orange bell peppers, the zucchini, and red onion. We're looking for a smaller dice here so they'll fit nicely on a spoon. Halve the cherry tomatoes and get your rice wine vinegar, mayo, and olive oil out.
Now as far as the pesto, store bought will work fine and save you time or you can make some at home (we have a recipe on the way!).
The Star of the Dish?
Pearl Mozzarella, so delicious and fits perfectly on the spoon. You can also cut up regular mozzarella if you can't find any of the pearl variety. But if you can find it, get it!
Beyond all the prep there isn't much to it. Start off by adding the mayo and pesto to the pasta and give it a mix. This allows for full coverage on the pasta.
Add all the condiments except for the pearl mozzarella and mix it all together. Add salt and pepper to taste, rice wine vinegar, and finally the pearl mozzarella and then incorporate.
A few things to think about
If you're making this ahead of time its a good idea to add a little more mayo or olive oil depending on consistency. The pasta salad will have a tendency to dry out in the refrigerator so a little extra mayo or olive oil will keep the consistency on point.
Also, remember that cold dishes lower the potency of the salt. Always make sure to give it a taste before serving so you can make any adjustments.
As far as flavorings trust your taste buds. Did you find a great pesto and want a little more? Add it in. You like the acidic kick of the rice wine vinegar? Add a little more. There are always room for adjustments.
Check out our Pesto Pasta Salad step by step video here:Print
- 1 pound of pasta (cavatappi or your favorite), cooked
- ¼ cup yellow bell pepper, small diced
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, small diced
- ¼ cup orange bell pepper, small diced
- ½ cup zucchini, small diced
- 1 cup fresh pearl mozzarella
- 1 ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup basil pesto
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil pasta to the package's maximum time to make sure it is not al dente for the pasta salad. Drain and put pasta into an ice bath to stop the cooking process and cool down pasta. Once the pasta is cool to the touch, drain from the water and set aside.
- Put the pasta in a bowl and combine the ingredients. Check the consistency for moistness and adjust seasoning.
- Once the pasta goes into the refrigerator, it will dry out just a tad. So, make sure you have enough mayonnaise and/or extra virgin olive oil added to the pasta.
- When using salt, a refrigerated dish will always use more salt than a hot dish. So, make sure you you add enough.