Ok, so I'll admit that I am not a huge fan of the summer heat. I don't want to spend hours over a hot oven (a true internal conflict since I love to cook and bake!) All I really want to do is eat nice cool pasta salad. I did a post a few weeks ago about my early summer romance with pasta salad (I'm talking three meals a day for over a week...) Well last night I was really aching for a nice warm pasta dish for dinner and as I walked around the grocery store I decided that I could kill two birds with one stone and make a pasta dish that would taste fantastic warm for dinner and just as amazing cool as a kind of pasta salad. While wandering around the store I came up with a plan to accomplish this and it turned out great. I wanted to share my new "Artichoke and lemon pesto pasta" recipe with all of you
--1 box of your favorite short pasta cooked and drained. I used Rotini but you could just as easily use a Penne, Farfalle, Fusilli or Cellentani.
--About two cups of traditional feta, crumbled
--2 large jars of marinated artichoke hearts
-- One small lemon
--2 cans of sliced black olives
--1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Begin to boil salted water. While water is boiling/pasta is cooking, add one entire jar of the marinated artichoke hearts (oil included) and only the artichoke hearts from the second jar. Pulse until artichokes create a roughly chopped consistency. Now add the juice of one small lemon (or the juice rendered from half of one large lemon) and the parmesan cheese to the artichoke mixture and pulse until the artichoke mixture has a rough pesto-like consistency. Add more of the oil from the remaining artichoke heart jar if needed. Drain the olives and crumble your feta (I use pre-crumbled.) Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Add the artichoke-lemon pesto, black olives and feta and stir. Serve warm as a past dinner or cool as a pasta salad. (Makes amazing leftovers)
When warm this pasta dish has a fresh and complex flavor that didn't leave me feeling weighted down (as many warm pasta dishes will do) and when cold the "pasta salad" was just as refreshing as any salad dressing based pasta salad I've ever made. It was also fantastic re-heated in the microwave.