Happy day, my lovelies!
I just got back from a nice little 4 miler out in Percy Warner Park. If you live in Nashville, I hope you’ve gotten to enjoy the gorgeousness of Percy Warner before!
If you’re living elsewhere, then please come visit! In fact, come stay with me!
I’m thinking of starting a Bed n’ Breakfast out of my house where I force all guests to try my recipes. It would be totally legit. And by legit I mean, you could sun on the patio while I bring you an array of appetizers that in no way go together in any shape, form or fashion.
Think Za’atar Spiced Yogurt Dip with homemade pita chips accompanied by fried hot dog-stuffed jalapeño poppers (trust me, they’re a thing.).
But you know what does naturally go together?
Roasted asparagus and tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and kalamata olives, all tossed with pesto and lemon-coated orzo.
That’s just a big plate of SPRING, folks. So fresh and bright and delicious! It’s even better the next day after it has chilled out in the fridge and let all its flavors become BFF’s.
Personally, I can’t pass up anything with pesto. It’s probably my favorite pasta sauce situation. And pair it with a little cream and cheese? HEAVEN!
But I tried to keep it reasonably healthy and light today. So no cream. A dash of cheese.
The best thing is, it makes enough to feed an army and gets better as it sits. Lunch and dinner for a week! #blessed
Perfect picnic/poolside food! #amen
Just the right bite when you come home *slightly buzzed* from a couple glasses of champagne and are trying NOT to call your good friend Papa Johns! #Jesushastakenthewheel
You could skip the chicken and make it vegetarian or add a different protein if chicken ain’t your thang. Grilled shrimp or sausage would be lovely here, too.
Isn’t it pretty?! It makes me want to picnic under a giant oak tree, sip rosé, and listen to some bluesy, delta tunes.
Which I think is exactly what I’ll go do now. I hope you get a chance to slow down, dive into a big bowl of this pasta salad and enjoy what’s left of this beautiful season, in whatever way makes you smile!
SPRING PESTO PASTA
Makes approximately 7 cups of pasta // 8-10 individual servings
- 1 bunch of asparagus, woody stalks trimmed off
- 1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
- 4 ounces of kalamata olives, chopped
- 1 pound box of orzo
- 1 to 2 cups of basil pesto (store-bought or homemade!)*
- 1 container of ciliegine (small mozzarella balls)*
- salt / pepper / EVOO
- balsamic glaze (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut asparagus stalks into 3 or 4 pieces each. Toss ‘maters and asparagus pieces with 2 TBS of EVOO, salt and fresh cracked pepper and spread evenly on baking sheet. Throw some unpeeled garlic cloves in there, too, if you got them lying around. Roast veggies in oven for 18-22 minutes. You want the asparagus to be bright green and tender with a little bite and the tomatoes to be bursting slightly.
- While veggies roast, cook orzo according to package directions. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Toss cooled pasta with 1 to 2 cups (I went with closer to 2 =)) of pesto sauce.
- Once veggies have cooled, toss veggies, olives, and mozzarella balls with pasta. Adjust seasoning (S & P) and squeeze juice of lemon over pasta. Toss again.
- Serve with fresh basil leaves as garnish and a drizzle of balsamic glaze over the individual servings.
- Eat and ENJOY!
*I stalk up on the Kirkland’s Pesto at Costco – it’s delicious and you can get a huge jar for around $8!
*If you can’t find ciliegine mozz, you can use bocconcini (cut in half) or tear fresh, sliced mozzarella into bite-size pieces. Or do crumbled goat or feta! All cheeses welcome!