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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  • Jeb September 20, 2007  

    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!

  • BS September 20, 2007  

    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?

  • gansie September 20, 2007  

    Jeb- there’s some left over chipotle dip with carrots and celery and some mashed potato cakes too.
    sorry, no p-salad. I’ll do better next time.

  • h diddy September 20, 2007  

    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)

  • Alex September 20, 2007  

    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.

  • El September 20, 2007  

    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.

  • gansie September 20, 2007  

    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.

  • JoeHoya September 20, 2007  

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

  • bobbyc September 20, 2007  

    This is the best looking food picture you’ve posted yet. Looks appetizing. Check out this site for some nice food porn pics:

  • 80 Proof September 20, 2007  

    Nice timing BobbyC, we have no idea who you are either!

    But welcome!

  • bobbyc September 20, 2007  

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

  • 80 Proof September 20, 2007  

    oops, ha. Maybe we do.

  • gansie September 20, 2007  

    oh right – hi bobby! thanks for checking in. and that greek food you and shelley and mike made was delicious. if you’ve made anything blog-worth lately (with pics) send us an email –

  • JoeHoya September 20, 2007  

    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!

  • BS September 20, 2007  

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

  • dad gansie September 21, 2007  

    looks all great let’s make some

  • KDS September 22, 2007  

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

  • Elizabeth 40 Hands September 26, 2007  

    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)

  • gansie September 26, 2007  

    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…

  • BS September 26, 2007  

    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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