Salad Series: Pesto Pine Nut Dried Tomato Grilled Asparagus Pasta Salad… Yum-Dogs!

I remember the first time I tried pesto pasta salad, and who I was with.  My uncle Ron, the most exciting person on the face of this earth.  Not only does Ron make me feel like I could walk on the moon, he is also a wealth of information, and a experimental food lover/taster/cook.  His character is very playful and lives to push the envelope on all aesthetic levels.  Everyone who meets him is immediately taken by his talent, wit, and kindness.  Oh I wish you could meet him, or maybe your lucky enough to know him.

It must have been more than two decades ago, he was having a birthday party at his home in Silverlake.  Amongst all the beautiful tasty dishes sat a big bowl of pesto pasta salad.  The food was definitely a hot topic of the night, and had everyone in a social chatty mood, as it always does in his home.  But the pesto pasta salad was also the first to go, I recall being truly disappointed that a second serving wasn’t in the stars for me.  By the following weekend…. I was making my own version.  Thanx for the inspiration Ron!

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for pesto:

6 – ounces fresh basil leaves (about 3 packed cups)

4 – garlic cloves (peeled)

1 1/4 – cups olive oil

1 1/2 – cups toasted pine nuts

5 – ounces shaved parmesan cheese

1/2 – teaspoon black pepper


In a food processor or blender add basil, garlic cloves and 1 cup olive oil. Pulse/blend until smooth.  Then take a spatula and scrape down the sides. Add pine nuts and pulse/blend some more until smooth.

Next add shaved parmesan cheese, black pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil pulse again till smooth.

Set to the side.


Ingredients for pasta salad:

1 – pound campanelle pasta (cooked according to box, and drained) (I use Barilla)

1 1/2 – cups pesto

1 – tablespoon chicken or vegetable bouillon (I use Knorr)

1 – cup sun dried tomatoes (cut into small strips)

1/2 – cup toasted pine nuts

2 1/2 – cups grilled asparagus (cut into 2 inch pieces)

1/2 – cups shaved parmesan cheese

In a big mixing bowl add cooked and drained pasta, bouillon, and pesto. Mix well.

Then add sun dried tomato strips, pine nuts, and grilled asparagus.  Mix well.

Mix in parmesan cheese, and garnish with a basil leaf and a sun dried tomato! That’s it your done! Enjoy!

It’s so easy being GREEN!



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