This makes a large salad for a potluck. If you want this for a dinner salad for a family, I would halve the ingredients.
Cook pasta according to package directions. While this is cooking (or ahead of time), make pesto by placing basil, pine nuts, parmesan, garlic and olive oil in a food processor and mixing thoroughly (If using a blender, chop basil first and add slowly or the blender will get jammed up). Add salt and pepper to taste. The pesto should be mixed well and be a brilliant green color.
Brown 1/4 cup of pine nuts in a little olive oil with salt and pepper until golden. Drain pasta when done and rinse using cool water to stop cooking. Toss pesto and pasta together in large bowl, add pine nuts, basil strips, tomatoes and feta and toss. This salad is best if left to "set" for a couple of hours or even overnight. Before serving, add salt and pepper and more olive oil if the salad looks dry.
If you don't like feta, you could simply substitute shredded parmesan or your favorite cheese instead. Feel free to use bottled pesto as a timesaver or add grilled chicken for a hearty meal.
Jess from Portland, OR
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