Fresh Italian-inspired ingredients are key in this pesto pasta salad recipe that makes a great side or main dish for dinner or lunch.
- 1 (16 ounce) package corkscrew-shaped pasta (fusilli)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 (8 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, cubed
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- ½ sweet onion, diced
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook fusilli in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta, rinse in cold water, and return to the pot. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- Combine basil, parsley, and garlic in a food processor; pulse until combined. Add toasted pine nuts and lemon juice and pulse until well combined. Add Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup olive oil while processor is running; blend well. Season pesto with salt and pepper.
- Place pasta into a large mixing bowl and stir in pesto. Add 1/4 cup reserved pasta water to thin slightly and continue to mix until pasta is thoroughly coated; add more pasta water as needed. Mix tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, celery, and onion into the salad until well combined.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavors to blend together, or eat right away.