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Basil and Almond Pesto Pasta Salad

This salad will be your go-to for every barbecue and backyard gathering this summer. Do you know why? Because it’s insanely delicious. Basil and shallot pesto, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a triple hit of parmesan from the pesto, chunks of the cheese in the salad, and even more grated parm to finish.

Now, that my friends, is my kind of dinner, lunch, or breakfast.

Basil and Almond Pesto

Yield: 1 ½ cups

Ingredients:

3 cups lightly-packed fresh basil leaves

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup freshly grated parmesan

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1 small shallot, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon lemon pepper

Pesto Instructions:

Place the basil, oil, parmesan, almonds, shallot, lemon juice, salt, and lemon pepper in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.

Process to desired texture.

Reserve.

Pesto Salad

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

8 oz. ditalini pasta

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 cups diced cherry tomatoes (any color)

2 Peruvian mini-cucumbers, diced

3 oz. diced parmesan cheese

1/3 cup julienned basil

2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan

Instructions:

Cook ditalini pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain in colander, and run under cold water to stop cooking. Reserve.

Place the pasta in a large bowl with the pesto, tomatoes, cucumber, diced parmesan cheese, basil, and grated parmesan.

Toss well to coat.

Refrigerate for 1 hour to let the flavors meld.

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