A Summer Night’s Dream Pasta Salad

Why a summer night’s dream, you ask? Because having pasta salad every summery night is my dream! Haha that sounds so complicated. What I’m really trying to say is that pasta salad is a dream to me.

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What I enjoy most about pasta salad is the pasta (duh!), but I also relish the different directions you can go with putting everything together. Pasta, veggies, bacon, cheese, olives – what more could a foodie want? Not to mention the fact that you can have most pasta salad at room temperature or cold, making it the ultimate leftover meal. I’m not a huge fan of leftovers, but give me a bowl of leftover pasta salad and I’m a happy camper.

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While there are many, many pasta salads I’ve grown to love, I set out to create the dreamiest pasta salad ever. I definitely thought it through, but it didn’t take me very long to come up with. I simply thought up a combination of some of my favorite summer foods and called it a day. It’s pretty much drowned in my favorite pesto ever – feta pesto and topped with tomatoes and roasted corn, giving it a sweet, charred crunch. Oh, and topped with more feta because every pasta dish should involve all the cheese.

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I ended up making it at for our daughter’s birthday party a couple of weeks ago and it was a hit! It meant a lot to me. When my friends and family (or strangers) like my recipes, it makes my heart so happy.  I hope you make it and enjoy it outside at a picnic, snuggled up on the couch or at your dinner table. Wherever you enjoy it, don’t forget to post some photos and tag #marinamakeseats!

The Dreamiest Pasta Salad You’ve Ever Had

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of dried cavatappi pasta (bowtie or shells will work too) (GF option: brown rice pasta or other GF option)
  • Salt
  • An ear of corn, roasted on the grill
  • 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • Feta
  • Basil leaves

Feta Pesto (you may have pesto leftover)

  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled feta
  • Juice and zest of one lemon

Directions

First, make the pesto. Combine walnuts, olive oil and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Add the basil, salt, feta, lemon juice and zest to the mixture and process until combined.

Next, prep your corn and tomatoes. Dice the cherry tomatoes in half and set aside. To roast the corn, heat your grill or a grill pan on the stove to high heat. Add the corn and cooked until slightly blackened on all sides. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Using a fork, cut the kernels off and set aside to add to the pasta.

Finally, bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a tablespoon or two of salt to the pot, and then add the pasta. Cook it according to the al dente time indicated on the box. When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to a large bowl. Top with pesto, corn and tomatoes, and stir to combine. Top with additional feta and basil leaves.

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