I saw this recipe in my favourite salad book and stopped turning the pages. It was too beautiful to be easy – all those glorious colours like a child’s toy, but I wrote out the shopping list and handed it to my darling accommodating husband who does the daily food shopping.
All ingredients having safely arrived in the house, I assembled them on the bench and couldn’t resist photographing them in their raw state all piled together in a seemingly casual mess, but it did actually take a while to get the mess looking right though. You have to admit they look pretty and that’s only some of the ingredients. I thought I should get on with the actual recipe or my family wouldn’t be eating.
So to get to the ingredients, throw in a much or little of the following items.
Cooked pasta – as you can see in the photo, I mixed two pastas because I had two part packets in the pantry.
Cherry tomatoes (if going cheap) otherwise chopped up normal tomatoes will do just as well.
Salami – any type chopped up in biggish hunks.
Mozzarella – the fresh type if you want to spend around $12 or the other NZ-style will do instead
Olives – I don’t fancy these but hubby does and they do add a certain something to the aesthetic side of the salad so in they go.
Yellow pepper – get the plumpest, freshest one your shopper can find and chop it up into chunks.
Orange pepper – ditto above. You can start to see where they vibrant colours come from.
Pesto sauce (as the dressing) – you could get a shop-bought one but that is sacrilegious to an Italian (hubby) so I make my own and it is 500% superior to anything found in a jar or pottle (I think that’s now a word).
I had better not leave you on tender hooks about how to make an Italian-acceptable pesto so here goes, not that I measure anything so excuse my vagueness.
Take all the leaves off a supermarket-bought basil plant or the equivalent from your own garden. Stick it all in a blender or chopper machine and whiz it until it’s in smallish bits but not too small. Now crush a clove or two of garlic and add to the basil, also add a handful of pine nuts and grated Parmesan. Pulse it all together and slowly pour in enough olive oil to make it into a sauce. Add a little salt then taste and adjust all ingredients according to how you like your pesto. Just make sure you don’t add too much garlic or it will be overpowering. The authentic Italian recipe has another cheese as well as Parmesan – it’s called pecorino and is hard like Parmesan but from a sheep. However, this is difficult to find at any old supermarket so you can skip it.
So stick everything together in big bowl and dress it with the pesto sauce and enjoy. We sure did.
Recipe source: The Big Book of salads