Passing the Pesto Test?

arugula pesto pasta salad

Some might call it a rut, but I think it’s my signature – party pasta salad. If there’s a party and I don’t have time or energy to think of something elaborate, I go the pasta salad route. And since I never use mayo, people aren’t thinking, O Lord, another party with another pasta salad, they’re actually excited to eat their cold noodles differently.

Now, I know some are pesto snobs (I’m looking at you, BS) but here is my rendition of pesto.

Arugula* Pesto Pasta Salad

In a boiling pot of salted water, add a whole box of your favorite pasta salad noodle. I chose the tubular, maccheroni this time. And, you know, follow the directions on the box, then flush with cold water, and douse with evoo.

My dear, no-cook co-worker gave me her blender that she never even took out of the box. I’ve now become obsessed.

In a blender, throw in: 1 cup of arugula, 1/2 cup of parm cheese, enough evoo to get the blender going and to make it saucy, 4 smashed garlic cloves, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Blend. Taste. Adjust.

Pour on pasta. Mix in diced roasted red pepper and diced marinated artichoke hearts. Chill.

*yes, this was from the same POUND of arugula.

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24 thoughts on “Passing the Pesto Test?

  1. I really hope there is a bowl of this pasta salad in the refrigerator that I can munch on this weekend…If not, you can go ahead and make a bit more!

  2. sounds good – call me a stickler, but if you were on top chef, tom collechio would never let you get away with calling it pesto…how about aresto?

  3. ah! i loved this stuff. she brought it to my house and i couldnt stop eating it because it was SO good. make me more! make me more!! (fists pounding on table with fork in hand)

  4. mmm. I remember this. Isn’t that the one you brought to the bbq? It was yummy. It had never occured to me to have pesto cold as a dressing for a pasta salad. Bloody brilliant.

  5. I’m a little hurt a note about the home grown basil did not make it into the post. :( But I guess I will still third how fantastic this was.

  6. fine. el outed me and my pasta salad.

    el and h diddy’s new place has a basil plant growing outside, and i took advantage of that and threw in some fresh basil. but, if it weren’t right there for usage, i would not have added (for one, i think basil is seriously over rated.) and, this was supposed to be an arugula pesto, not a basil pesto.

    feel free to recreate this however you’d like, though. if i were to do it again, i’d probably throw in some fresh arugula at the last minute before serving, so people would know its an arugula, not basil, pesto. but, for travel/sleep over purposes, i was not able to do this.

  7. So am I the only person who comments on this blog that doesn’t actually know the rest of you?

  8. I spent a few days at the beach with these folks teaching them how to cook.

  9. So what you’re saying is, I AM the only person who comments here that doesn’t already know y’all.

    I feel like such an interloper!

  10. don’t worry JH, we have thousands of anonymous readers who are just a little too intimidated to comment….right?

  11. This sounds great but you have to find another name for it; can’t possibly call it pesto – or we think basil.

  12. JoeHoya: I don’t know any of them either :) Well, I know one of them, but she hasn’t contributed in ages. Anyway, gansie, I wanted to tell you about my NEW pesto invention. I took out the cheese (I’m vegan) but added parsley, basil, arugula, and spinach and I switch off between toasted pine nuts and walnuts. I saw a recipe the other day that called for mint and pistachios! I’ll let you know when I try it! Anyway, I love experiminting with pesto because it’s sooooo delicious…and my outdoor party staple! (Sorry to be so long winded)

  13. Hey 40 Hands. Very adventurous take on “pesto.” You’ll have to let us know how your projects turn out. And, do you use the pesto on anything besides pasta? That’s something I’ve been thinking about…soups, spreads, sauce…

  14. woah…def check back in if you do the mint and pistachio thing…would that be with basil as well? sounds amazing to me

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