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Pesto Pasta Salad

by Kristina Wentzell This salad is best served the day it is made; if it's been refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before serving. Garnish with additional shaved or grated Parmesan.

Prep
Cook
Serves 8people
Ingredients
3/4
cup pine nuts
2
medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
1
tbsp plus 1 teaspoon salt
1
lb farfalle (bow ties) pasta
1/4
cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 additional tablespoon
3
cup packed fresh basil leaves (about 4 ounces)
1
cup baby spinach (packed), about 1 ounces
1/2
tsp pepper
2
tbsp lemon juice
1 2/2
oz Parmesan cheese, grated (3/4 cup), plus extra for serving
6
tbsp mayonnaise
1
pt cherry tomatoes, quartered, or grape tomatoes, halved (optional)
Directions
1.
Bring 4 quarts of water to rolling boil in a large pot. Toast pine nuts in small dry skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally, until just golden and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.
2.
When water is boiling, add garlic and let cook 1 minute. Remove garlic with slotted spoon and rinse under cold water to stop cooking; set aside to cool. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to water, stir to separate, and cook until tender (just past al dente). Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, drain pasta, toss with 1 tablespoon oil, spread in single layer on rimmed baking sheet, and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
3.
When garlic is cool, peel and mince or press through garlic press. Place 1/4 cup nuts, garlic, basil, spinach, pepper, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 cup oil, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in bowl or food processor and process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl if necessary. Add cheese and mayonnaise and process until thoroughly combined. Transfer mixture to large serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble salad.
4.
When pasta is cool, toss with pesto, adding reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time until pesto evenly coats pasta. Fold in remaining 1/2 cup nuts and tomatoes (if using); serve.

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