Pasta Salad

When visitors leave, I find that no matter how much I enjoyed their company, I always need some time to be quiet and chill out.  This “cool down” mode also applies to food, especially after my in-laws visit.  It seems like all we do when they are around is eat, or plan where we are eating next.  This was a good thing this week as it got my husband and me out of the house and trying new restaurants in Knoxville.  But it left us feeling, well, like all we had done was eat.

So yesterday, after everyone had left, I knew I needed to make something simple and healthy for dinner.  Inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s Summer Pea and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad, I decided to make my own variation using what I had on hand.

Broccoli, Walnuts, Sun-dried Tomatoes,Basil

I’m not sure if you would call this a sun-dried tomato pesto or something else, but it was very tasty.  I attempted to puree almost all of a 7oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes in a blender with olive oil and some red-wine vinaigrette.  I say attempted because my blender isn’t very good and I had larger chunks of tomato than I had envisioned.  I started with two tablespoons of olive oil and one of the vinegar, but added more as I went, probably doubling the amount in the end.

I tossed 2 cups of chopped broccoli in with the whole wheat pasta during the last couple minutes of boiling, drained, then stirred in the pesto/sauce/whatever, followed by half a cup of chopped walnuts and a handful of julienned basil.

Pasta Salad

The walnuts added a nice, unexpected crunch, which even my husband, who would normally turn his nose up at nuts in pasta, enjoyed.  The broccoli and basil provided a fresh, green taste, though I would add more broccoli or an additional vegetable next time.

My husband ate it warm. I had it at room temperature with some shaved Grana Padano.  Either way, it was delicious.


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