This easy pasta salad is the perfect summertime recipe – a great side dish for your next potluck! Homemade kale pesto, some crispy prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and juicy tomatoes make for a simple pasta salad recipe that’s sure to be a hit.
I am seriously into this pasta salad. So much so that I actually ate the leftovers for breakfast this morning. Side note: why don’t more people eat pasta for breakfast? I think it should be a thing.
Anywho, I know that a caprese pasta salad isn’t exactly GROUNDBREAKING, because every food blogger since the beginning of food blogger TIME has made about a million variations of caprese everything. Salads! Pizza! Hot Pasta! Pasta Salads! Crostini! It’s all been done. But I think there’s a reason we all keep coming back to the good ol’ combo of basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella, and that is this: IT. IS. DELICIOUS.
And why fix it if it ain’t broken? CAPRESE EVERYTHING, I SAY!
That being said, I did TRY to mix it up a little bit. This pasta salad gets a bitter (read: delicious) kick from a kale and basil pesto (my new favorite thing out of all of the things ever) and a bit of crispy prosciutto gives the whole thing a nice crunch and pop of salty goodness.
The recipe below makes a little more pesto than you need for this pasta salad, which is perfect because it means you’ll have some left over to experiment with! Pesto freezes really well, so I love keeping a stash in my freezer to pull out anytime I want. My stash is quickly depleting, though, because I’ve been putting this pesto on EVERYTHING lately. So far, it’s amazing in scrambled eggs, mac and cheese, and on pizza. And I still have enough left to make this pasta salad again tomorrow! WIN.
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2 cups fresh kale leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (you might not use it all)
- ¾ lb. whole wheat pasta (I used fusilli)
- ¼ cup Kale & Basil Pesto
- 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 oz. prosciutto
- Toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
- Place cooled pine nuts, basil, kale, garlic, salt, pepper, and parmesan in a food processor and pulse once or twice to combine.
- Stream a few tablespoons of olive oil into pesto while food processor is running, until you've reached the desired consistency. You may not need all of the olive oil - I generally use between ½ and ⅔ cup to get it to the right thickness.
- Cook pasta in very salty water until al dente.
- Drain pasta and toss with pesto. Set aside to cool.
- When pasta has cooled to room temperature, toss with tomatoes, mozzarella, salt, and pepper. Place in a covered container in the fridge to chill for at least an hour or until you're ready to serve.
- Just before you're ready to serve, place the prosciutto on a baking sheet (I like to use my nonstick baking mat so the prosciutto comes up easily). Bake at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until prosciutto is nice and crispy. Prosciutto tends to crisp up pretty quickly, so keep an eye on it.
- Let the crispy prosciutto cool to room temperature and slice it as best you can - it will crumble a bit, but that's ok!
- When you're ready to serve, toss the crispy prosciutto pieces with the rest of the pasta salad. If the pasta salad is a little dry, toss it with some more pesto or a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.
Wait to add the prosciutto until you're ready to serve so that it doesn't get soggy.