Red Pesto Pasta Salad with Bacon

June 15, 2021
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Photo by Anna Chwistek | Serving Dumplings
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

Pasta salad with red pesto and crispy bacon. This quick fix salad is super easy to make and comes together in about 20 minutes. Tossed with an insanely delicious pesto dressing packed with sun-dried tomatoes and finished off with toasted caper breadcrumbs for a delicious crunch. Enjoy this salad any night of the week or serve as a side at your next backyard grill party with friends. —Anna Chwistek | Serving Dumplings

What You'll Need
  • 250 grams (8.8 oz) pasta
  • 50 grams (1.8 oz) shaved Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more for serving
  • 200 grams (7 oz) salted bacon bits
  • oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • salt + black pepper
  • red pesto
  • 150 grams (5.3 oz) sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 20 grams (0.7 oz) toasted pine nuts
  • 20 grams (0.7 oz) grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling, generously salted water. Cook until al dente. Drain.
  2. In the meantime, make the red pesto. Combine the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend, until everything is thoroughly combined, but still has some texture. If too dry or too thick, add a few tablespoons water.
  3. Make the caper breadcrumbs. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tbsp oil. Then the panko together with capers. Cook, stirring occasionally until the breadcrumbs are toasted, about 3 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, season with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Transfer the breadcrumbs onto a plate.
  4. In the same skillet, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium high heat. Add bacon, cook until crispy and golden brown, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add pasta and 3-4 heaped tablespoons red pesto to a mixing bowl, toss to combine. Add bacon, shaved Parmesan and breadcrumbs, toss to combine. Garnish with red pepper flakes and extra black pepper. Enjoy immediately, at room temperature for best flavor/texture.

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