Pesto Pasta Salad with Sundried Tomatoes & Bacon
10 oz organic cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon plus ¼ teaspoon sea salt, divided, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
16 ounces dry noodles of choice (I prefer fusilli for this)
2 ounces fresh parsley, basil or cilantro, rinsed, dried and stems removed, then roughly chopped
1 bunch green onions, top and base 1” removed and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled & roughly chopped
½ cup roasted salted pistachios
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to taste
Juice from one lemon
6 ounces cooked bacon, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with nonstick parchment paper. Slice tomatoes in half and add them to the baking sheet, then drizzle with balsamic, 2 teaspoons olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper. Toss to coat then spread in an even layer. Roast tomatoes for 35 minutes, or until ‘shriveled’ looked with caramelized edges. Set aside to cool.
While tomatoes are roasting, add 1 tablespoon salt to a large pot with enough water to cook your noodles. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions, then set aside. Can drizzle with a little olive oil if noodles seem to be sticking.
Make pesto by combining parsley, green onions, garlic, pistachios, Parmesan, lemon juice and remaining ½ olive oil in a food processor. Pulse, scrapping down the sides as necessary, until it reaches your preferred pesto consistency. I personally add a pinch of salt, but that’s optional.
Assemble pasta: combine noodles, pesto, sundried tomatoes and bacon, if using, in a large mixing bowl and toss to coat. Add more Parmesan and/or salt/pepper to taste. You can also stir in a little more olive oil to help everything mix together, as desired.
Can serve pasta immediately or refrigerate up to 5 days, and can be served chilled or warm.