Sunday, July 6, 2014

July Secret Recipe Club...Featuring Pesto Pasta Salad

This year is whooshing by so's already time for another fun Secret Recipe Club reveal. This month, I was assigned the blog Claire K Creations. Claire lives in Australia with her husband and adorable baby boy, Ollie. We have quite a bit in common -- we both love to cook, but we don't like to spend hours in the kitchen. We also both love to dine out and travel, so I had a great time reading through her blog looking for a recipe to share. I ended up selecting her flavorful Pesto Pasta Salad for our July 4th weekend menu. Michael has been on a pesto kick recently, so I knew he'd really enjoy this quick-cook Summer dish! Flavored with bold basil pesto and tangy feta, it's got the big flavors I love.

It's Winter in Australia, so a pasta salad may seem odd to Claire when she reads this. However, it's 90+ here in Texas now that it's July, so a cold pasta salad is just what we were looking for this weekend. I made one tweak to Claire's original recipe, subbing diced Roma tomato and sweet corn kernels for the roasted sweet potato in her recipe. I had those veggies on hand, and it seemed a bit more Summery. This pasta salad can be made up to a day ahead, making it perfect for busy warm-weather entertaining. Feel free to use any pasta you like, but I opted to use a healthy high-protein, high-fiber pasta. Wait until you see how easy this great pasta salad is to whip up!

Pesto Pasta Salad
adapted from Claire K Creations

  • 14.5-ounce box corkscrew pasta 
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Step 1: Cook the pasta in well-salted water according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta and add to a large mixing bowl. Let the pasta cool for a few minutes. Then, add the pesto, olive oil, feta, spinach, corn, tomato, and salt & pepper. 
Step 2: Stir with a sturdy spoon just until the ingredients are evenly combined -- being careful not to break up the feta cheese too much. Refrigerate the pasta salad until chilled -- about 4 hours. Transfer to a pretty serving bowl/platter and serve.
This pasta salad is amazing! I love how the pesto flavors the pasta with basil, parmesan, garlic, olive oil, and pine nuts. The warm pasta wilts the spinach perfectly, and the feta provides a tangy burst of flavor. The combo of tomato and corn just screams Summer. I especially love that this pasta salad is light and refreshing -- unlike mayo-based pasta salads. I can see myself making this great pasta salad all Summer long.

I hope you'll check out the other recipes that my fellow Secret Recipe Club members are sharing today. I always find at least one or two new recipes to try out each month, and this month is no exception. Click the links below to visit that recipe's page.

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