By Nancy Caivano
1 lb. pasta (I prefer Rotelle with this salad,
but any pasta shape will work)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 cloves garlic, quartered
2-1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
1-1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
3/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente; drain and rinse under cold running water to stop cooking and cool. Drain well and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
Combine pasta with tomatoes and olives in a large bowl. Set aside.
Make the pesto:
In a food processor or blender, combine walnuts and garlic; process about 30 seconds. Add basil and Romano cheese; process another 30 seconds. With processor running, add oil in a thin stream until fully absorbed, and pesto is smooth. Remove from processor and check for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Add half of pesto to pasta mixture; mix well. If desired, add more pesto to your taste, making sure salad is well coated. Add Gorgonzola right before serving, mixing well.
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