It has been very hot here in South Carolina, so I am always thinking of cool foods that I can make in the morning when it is a little cooler, and have them in the fridge to serve for lunch or supper. Salad always comes to mind.
Since I had a lot of basil and Roma tomatoes it seemed only natural to pair them with pasta. Pasta is always a good choice especially if paired with chicken because it becomes a good, hearty main dish salad. To serve, all I have to do is add some side dishes such as fruit and cheese, or maybe some French bread to make it a great meal. No more cooking, just good eating.
The recipe that I used for the Pesto Pasta is a version of a recipe that I had in one of my cookbooks.
It uses the same ingredients in the salad that you would mix together to make pesto. You might not think about using toasted walnuts for a pasta salad but the surprise is a little bite or texture that you are not expecting and it is so good.
I have modified the recipe to make it simpler. These were also ingredients that I had growing in my little garden, on my pantry shelf or the fridge or freezer.
Bon Appétit! I hope you enjoy the salad and try to stay cool.
8 ounces linguine, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups cubed baked chicken (see directions below)
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
½ cup toasted walnuts
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Drain linguine well and add vegetable oil (you can use olive oil if you are serving at room temperature). Mix the linguine and all other ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Baked chicken- There is always a package of frozen chicken tenderloins in my freezer. I find them very tender and they cook quickly. I just put them frozen into a heavy skillet, salt and pepper them and then I sprinkle them with a little bit of celery salt, not too much. Then I put the skillet into a 350ºF oven and cook until the tenders are done. I let them sit in the juice for a few minutes before cutting them into tender morsels for the salad.
Every year, I challenge myself as a gardener to grow something I've never grown before and this year was no exception. As a professional garden writer, I was privileged to be given several exciting new varieties to trial. Additionally, in my travels this year, I had the chance to evaluate many more new plants in trial gardens across the country. The following new annuals, which will be new at retail in Spring 2017, received top ratings in my book.
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