Penne Pasta Salad
- 4 cloves garlic pressed
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes or use 1 diced fresh tomato
- 12 ounces Penne pasta OR other medium-shaped pasta
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves shredded
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 tablespoons pecan halves
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 medium red bell peppers de-seeded, de-ribbed and chopped
- 3/4 pound white mushrooms sliced
- 12 ounces snow peas trimmed
- DO-AHEAD TIP: If desired, chill the salad for up to 8 hours before serving.
- In a large saucepan of boiling water, cook garlic for 2 minutes (to blanch); remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add sun-dried tomatoes to the garlic water and cook for 2 minutes or until soft. (If using fresh tomatoes, skip this step.)
- Remove sun-dried tomatoes with a slotted spoon and, when cool enough to handle, thinly slice.
- Pour off and reserve 1/3 cup of the garlic/tomato water. Add pasta to the saucepan and cook in the garlic/tomato water according to package directions; drain then place in a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine cooked garlic with the basil, Parmesan, 1/2 tablespoon of oil, the pecan halves, salt, and pepper; purée until smooth.
- Add reserved 1/3 cup of garlic water and process mixture until creamy. Pour pesto sauce over pasta and toss to combine.
- Heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add bell peppers and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes or until tender-crisp; set aside.
- Add mushrooms and snow peas to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes or until snow peas are tender-crisp.
- Add cooked veggies to the pasta along with sun-dried tomatoes; toss to combine. Serve at room temperature OR chill for up to 8 hours before serving.
NUTRITION per serving: 344 Calories; 8g Fat; 13g Protein; 57g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 3mg Cholesterol; 210mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 1 Fat. Points: 9 SERVING SUGGESTION: Melon kabobs (alternately thread cantaloupe and honeydew chunks onto bamboo skewers). VEGETARIAN: No changes necessary. KOSHER: No changes necessary. GLUTEN FREE: Make sure tomatoes (if sun-dried) are gluten-free. Use gluten-free pasta.
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