Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Pesto Pasta Salad is easy to make, healthy and perfect for barbecues and picnics. I love casual entertaining, especially when fresh local produce is in season. Our local farmer’s market has expanded over the years, and fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella are readily available. There’s also a stand that sells excellent fresh pesto.
As a family with four boys, our grocery bill mushroomed over the years, especially during their teenage years. Whenever I tell people that I have four boys, they almost immediately make a comment about how big my grocery bill must be. I’ve learned ways to skimp and stretch out our food bill (see my 5 Tips for Feeding Hungry Teenagers), but for special celebrations, I do splurge a bit.
Time together as a family is precious, as my boys go their separate paths, so each day I have with them is a time to celebrate.
I first made this Tomato Mozzarella Pesto Pasta Salad four years ago over Memorial Day weekend. We were set to have a small gathering, but it soon grew from just the six of us, to twelve, as each of the twins invited a set of friends – all boys. Mind you, these boys were young men with big appetites, so I was worried we wouldn’t have enough food to go around.
The boys loved this Tomato Mozzarella Pesto Pasta Salad, with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto. This pasta salad goes a long way, so it’s great for a crowd. You can make your own pesto or buy a good quality pesto from the farmer’s market or supermarket.
Make sure you use fresh mozzarella cheese. I’ve started making homemade mozzarella cheese and it is the best.
This Tomato Mozzarella Pesto Pasta is a great recipe to have in your back pocket when entertaining this summer – it is totally no-fuss and actually tastes better the longer you leave the tomatoes to marinade in the garlic olive oil. My boys loved this and enjoyed leftovers the next day.
Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Pesto Pasta Salad
- 3 cups chopped chopped tomatoes
- 4 small pieces fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese cut into bite size pieces
- 1/3 cup fresh pesto
- 4-5 cloves fresh garlic minced
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- a handful of fresh grated Parmesan cheese optional
- 1 pound dried gluten-free or whole grain pasta
- In a large serving bowl, toss together tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, pesto, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let marinade for an hour or longer. When ready to serve, cook pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Toss hot pasta with tomato mixture, adding some pasta cooking liquid to loosen up sauce. Serve.