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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.

Serves 8people
cup pine nuts
medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
tbsp plus 1 teaspoon salt
lb farfalle (bow ties) pasta
cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 additional tablespoon
cup packed fresh basil leaves (about 4 ounces)
cup baby spinach (packed), about 1 ounces
tsp pepper
tbsp lemon juice
1 2/2
oz Parmesan cheese, grated (3/4 cup), plus extra for serving
tbsp mayonnaise
pt cherry tomatoes, quartered, or grape tomatoes, halved (optional)
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.
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.
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.
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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