Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Farfalle with Spinach Pesto, Feta, and Cherry Tomatoes

Spinach Leaves
(Photo courtesy of World Community Cookbooks)

I am a huge fan of pesto. Back when I lived in Cleveland, I was a member of the Cleveland West Chi Omega Alumnae Group, which met once a month to engage in a variety of activities. We typically wrapped up the year with a potluck event, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to use my love of pesto for the greater good. And, I came up with a pesto pasta salad recipe that I could bring just for the occasion of our Salad Supper meeting.

Rather than using the more traditional basil in my pesto, I opted for baby spinach. And rather than using the more traditional pinoli (pine nuts), I opted for pecans. The pesto turned out great and the ladies complimented me on the salad all night. I barely had any leftovers to take home by the end of the evening! What's great about this pasta salad is that it can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature without affecting the flavor. Personally, I like it on the cool side, but definitely serve it the way you prefer!

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Farfalle with Spinach Pesto, Feta, and Cherry Tomatoes
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound dried farfalle
  • 3/4 cup Spinach Pesto (recipe follows)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the boiling water with a good handful of salt. Stir in the farfalle and cook according to the package directions.
  2. When the farfalle is finished cooking, drain and run it under cold water, just until it stops steaming.
  3. Place the drained farfalle in a large bowl. Stir in the pesto until the farfalle is coated.
  4. Gently toss in the cherry tomatoes and the crumbled feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. If the salad is too dry, drizzle in some olive oil and stir until the desired moistness is achieved. The salad can be prepared up to 1 hour prior to serving.

Spinach Pesto 
Yields 1 1/2 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 8-ounce bag fresh baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup whole pecans
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place all ingredients with 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a blender. Blend.
  2. Gradually drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup oil until the pesto is thick and smooth.

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7 comments:

FOODalogue: Meandering Meals and Travels said...

Delicious...takes on a more of a Greek influence with the spinach and feta.

Michelle said...

Foodalogue - I was really pleased with how the feta made the other flavors of the salad just come together. If I liked them, I might have tossed in some diced olives, too, but olives are one of my cringe-worthy foods. ;-)

Zen Chef said...

Your spinach pesto sounds fantastic! A real crowd pleaser for sure. Do you deliver on 57th street by any chance? :-)

Michelle said...

Zen Chef - Nope, no delivery service yet! :)

Veronica said...

Yum!

I made some basil pesto the other day and put it on a pizza.Sooo delicious.

I am drooling now...

Michelle said...

Veronica - I love how versatile pesto is! There are just so many ways to enjoy it! Your use of it on pizza sounds delicious!

Cari Snell said...

Michelle! What a delicious, whole foods recipe! We'd love to feature it on www.dinnervibe.com with you receiving full credit and a link to your site. Would love to hear from you! cari@dinnervibe.com