When I think of pasta salad, I think of the annual church picnic growing up. It happened every May on the lawn outside our church.
I think of children playing games while a blues band consisting of choir members sings 70s folk music. Volunteers manning the grills, flipping hundreds of burgers and hot dogs for the congregation. White and red checkered table cloths and folding chairs. Water balloons and the potato sack race.
And, of course, the annual church salad competition.
Each year members of the congregation would make their best salad recipe and enter it into the salad contest. I’m talking pesto pasta salad, watermelon salad, couscous salad, macaroni salad, strawberry arugula salad, curried carrot salad, antipasti salad…..
20-30 salads would enter the contest, and by popular vote, one would be crowned the winner.
I would put a small scoop of each and every salad on my plate, sampling every one. Sometimes I needed two plates.
One year, I entered in an Israeli Couscous Salad made with golden raisins, parsley, slivered almonds, and a turmeric curry dressing. I must’ve been 12. I made 2 huge bowls of it, making sure there was enough for everyone to have some.
When it was time to crown the contest winner, I sat there, eagerly listening. Then:
#21! Israeli Couscous Salad!
I was so, so proud. I beat all these adults in the salad contest. Me!
So as I’m writing this post I’m realizing I should post that Israeli Couscous Salad. Maybe next spring 🙂
But for now, I have this deliiicious Prosciutto Pea and Pesto Salad with burrata cheese and asparagus. And guys, if this were at the church picnic salad contest, it would most definitely be a contender.
for the pesto
- 2 large bunches basil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
for the pasta
- 16 oz farfalle pasta
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 large burrata, cut into pieces
- 4 oz sliced prosciutto
- microgreens for garnish (optional)
- In a food processor, pulse all pesto ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta al dente. In the last minute of cooking, add in asparagus. Drain completely, then run cold water over everything until it comes to room temperature. Drain again.
- Mix in pesto. Add in burrata pieces, peas, and prosciutto. Toss to combined. For that true pasta salad feel, chill in fridge for 30 minutes before serving!