Written on August 21, 2013 at 8:40 am , by Michael Wurm, Jr.
While this summer is quickly coming to an end, I’m doing all I can to hang on to every last day. I’m also trying to still squeeze in as many of my favorite summertime foods as possible. A quintessential dish for this time of year is pasta salad. I’m a huge fan of the classic, but I also like to mix things up a bit and try something new.
BHG has a fabulous collection of Tasty Pasta Salads. As I was scrolling through, I was immediately attracted to this Italian Pesto Pasta Salad. Although my heritage is German and Irish, I enjoy lots of Italian foods. Maybe I lived in Italy in a previous life? Anyway, this was the dish I wanted to try.
With toasted basil pesto, spicy arugula, pine nuts, and cheese, I knew this would be a winner! I also wanted to give it a little twist of my own, so I added some sun-dried tomatoes for even more flavor.
This dish can be made in under thirty minutes. Because I had store-bought pesto, I was able to pull everything together while the pasta was cooking. Speaking of pasta, I used cavatappi, instead of elbow macaroni. I’m obsessed with these spiral noodles. With all of their nooks and crannies, they do such a great job of holding onto flavor. For the sun-dried tomatoes, I used the oil-packed and julienned kind. I drained them along with the cannelloni beans. After they were drained, I let them rest on a towel to further eliminate moisture.
Once the pasta was cooked and cooled, everything went into a bowl, starting with the pesto sauce and ending with the arugula. I used a vegetable peeler to slice in small strips of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Toasted pine nuts finish the dish with a perfect little crunch.
If you love Italian food as much as I do, you need to give this tasty pasta salad a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
As I mentioned above, I followed BHG’s recipe for Italian Pesto Pasta Salad. You can find the recipe here. To that, I added one 8.5-ounce jar of oil-packed, julienned sun-dried tomatoes, drained. I also substituted cavatappi for elbow macaroni.
Now get out there and enjoy these last days of summer! And let us know what some of your favorite summer foods are.
Michael Wurm, Jr – Inspired by Charm
Written on May 23, 2013 at 8:00 am , by Erin Gleeson
Hello! Erin from The Forest Feast here, with an easy appetizer idea. I have oodles of mint in my garden right now, so I whipped up some Mint Pesto inspired by this BHG Homemade Pesto recipe. I used mint instead of basil for a fresh spring taste, and pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds) instead of pine nuts because they are nutrient rich and much less expensive. This mint pesto is also great on pasta!
- 1 bunch (about 1 cup firmly packed) fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 1/4 cup piepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)
- 5T olive oil
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set this pesto aside. Toast several slices of baguette and toast on a baking sheet in the oven until golden brown (approx 3 minutes under the broiler). While bread is still warm, spread a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese on each slice. Top that with a spoonful of the mint pesto, and garnish each with a couple pepitas. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, colorful vegetable based recipes with photos and watercolor illustration. After working for many years as a food photographer in NYC, Erin moved to a cabin in the woods where she is currently working on The Forest Feast cookbook. Follow Erin on Twitter and Instagram, @theforestfeast.