This is one of those pasta salads my mom makes on repeat. It's simple, super delicious and bursting with summer flavors like fresh tomatoes and a homemade pesto lemon dressing. We typically eat it with a variety of grilled goods like Bratwurst and Schwenkbraten when I am at home in Germany.
This light pasta salad is like a vacation to Italy in your mouth. I make my own, simple pesto for it using my immersion blender because for one, it tastes amazing! Secondly, I have a severe cashew allergy and never noticed that EVERYONE puts cashews in their jarred pesto until I paid more attention to the labels because of my allergy.
For my pesto, I combine only the freshest ingredients: loads of fresh basil, fresh lemon juice, skillet-roasted pine nuts, aged parmesan, fresh garlic, and lubricate it all with a healthy amount of extra virgin olive oil.
I then toss my hot penne with the lemony pesto and sautéed veggies for a refreshing, vegetarian pasta salad to accompany your favorite grilled goods (I suggest you try making some Schwenkbraten soon!).
I serve the salad warm or cold, both are great! You can also make the pesto a few days ahead of time to cut the day-of prep time down to a silly short 15 minutes. Guten Appetit!
Ute's Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe
- 500 g pasta I used Nuraxi's ancient grain Sardinian pasta
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 or 3 zucchini or yellow squash I used 2 zucchini and 1 yellow squash
- 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon roasted pine nuts I dry roast mine in a skillet for a few minutes
- 2 large tomatoes medium diced
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 to 2 tablespoon Calabrian Chili Paste optional
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente (follow instructions on package). Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium high, then add the zucchini and cook for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or until fragrant and starting to brown. Add calabrian chili paste if desired. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- For the pesto, combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor (I actually use a cup and an immersion blender), and blend until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Combine pasta, pesto, sautéed veggies, pine nuts and diced fresh tomatoes in a large serving bowl, then top with grated parm and some fresh basil leaves. Guten Appetit!