Deconstructed Pesto Pasta Salad

A breeze to make, this easy side or main dish is sure to please a crowd.

How good does it feel when the only direction in a recipe is "combine?" This super simple pasta salad is the perfect foundation to build on to make tons of other dishes. I took a basic pesto recipe and let those individual ingredients come through, but feel free to add more vegetables, meat, cheese, whatever suits your fancy. This is a simple, delicious recipe that you can adapt again and again.

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For such a simple salad, each ingredient needs to shine. I love the rich, round flavor of pasolivo olive oil with the sharp and bright flavors of basil and garlic. Pasolivo Signature Olive Oil, $29, Pasolivo.

Ingredients 8 ounces orrechiette pasta, cooked, drained, and cooled 3/4 cup ricotta 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup olive oil 1 cup basil, chiffonade (cut into long, thin strips) 1/2 cup grated parmesan 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted 1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl, combine the orrechiette with the ricotta, garlic, and olive oil.

2. Stir until the ricotta lightly coats the pasta.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and gently combine.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Find additional easy recipe ideas on The Kitchy Kitchen and head to our Food Board on Pinterest for even more deliciousness.

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Photographs: Claire Thomas

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