The Challenge: Design, cook, and implement a dinner menu for a backyard wedding with 80 guests and a budget of $1000. Today we continue contemplating pasta salad side dishes.
It’s been a while since I’ve discussed ‘The Wedding Catering Project’ so I’ll do a quick recap for you. So far we’ve decided on sweet and spicy pulled pork as our first meat based main dish. I was originally thinking to serve all cold foods but, I’ve discovered an inexpensive way to keep food hot (<–Affiliate link). Which is terrific as this gives me the ability to offer more variety in the menu and the bride really wanted pulled pork as a main dish! Plus, the recipe for pulled pork is totally flippin’ amazing if I do say so myself. And I do.
I’ve come up with a farm fresh pasta salad that’s also really terrific and is certainly good enough to make the cut. Today I have the second pasta salad idea I wanted to explore. I feel it’s equally terrific. Pesto pasta salad! I figure the bride and groom can taste both and pick the fave, which will actually get used for the wedding.
And that’s about it so far… which is a scary, scary thing since the wedding is coming up fast (July 25th!! EEEKK!) That means I still need to come up with:
- A chicken salad recipe
- A vegetarian main dish
- A potato salad or some other potato recipe
- Test two different bean recipes
- Figure out some type of veggie salad
- + deal with alcohol, other beverages and cake (I am already thinking sangria on the alcohol front though!)
of course I also have to have the bride and groom taste it all, pull together a final budget, and start buying up meats and things early so I can grab a good price! (Hurrah for chest freezers!)
So, uh, you’re going to see a lot of wedding related posts for a while. I gota get this stuff done! On the plus side for you my friends, all my recipes are going to be so summer perfect. You’re totally going to want to try them for your summer cookouts and parties.
So that’s the situation, now let’s move on to today’s recipe. Pesto pasta salad. Simple, completely easy, but oh so tasty. The most time consuming step here is boiling the pasta. That’s so nice sometimes isn’t it?
I personally feel that this dish can be made successful using your own homemade pesto (recipe included) or using store bought. Store bought obviously speeds things up even more. I have to admit it would be really nice to have a dish for the wedding that is this super quick and easy to make. I’m feeling like things don’t have to be fancy or complicated to be tasty. Is there anyone who doesn’t like pesto? Broad appeal right?
So without further adieu:
- 1 lb. pasta in any shape
- 12 tablespoons of pesto (recipe to follow)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 5 roma tomatoes
- 1. Cook pasta following the al dente directions, usually 10-11 minutes for most pasta shapes. Drain and rinse with cool water immediately to prevent further cooking.
- 2. While the pasta is cooking, wash the tomatoes and cut into large cubes. Set aside. Grate the parmesan cheese. Set aside.
- 3. Pour pasta into a large bowl. Add the tomatoes and parmesan. Add the pesto and stir gently until well combined. Cover and chill if not serving immediately.
- 1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (or pine nuts)
- 1/2 garlic clove
- 1/4 tsp sea or kosher salt
- 1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1. Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
- Yields about 1 cup of pesto.