The title is a mouthful, isn’t it? And this easy pasta salad was too, a mouthful of lemony, garlicky, summery flavors, perfect for a late Sunday dinner at sea.
Making food for boating is tricky. It needs to be something that will keep fairly well and that will fit in the small fridge or in our cooler bag. And it has to be enough for a five or six hour trip, usually for four people. One of the things I learned early on as a little boater was that eating is imperative. It’s actually when you don’t eat that you get more sick. So packing substantial food is key, and being creative is always important to me.
So important that Saturday night I could not sleep because I didn’t know what to make for a dinner outing with friends. We had cheese and crackers, pretzel thins, cookies, and salami, but we needed more. At around 4 am, I finally figured out all of the ingredients for this Lemony Arugula Pesto Tortellini Salad.
While a container of Trader Joe’s spinach tortellini and a half a bag of orrechiette boiled, I whipped up a simple pesto made with several cups of arugula, a cup of baby spinach, garlic, juice of a well-juiced lemon, olive oil, sea salt, and parmesan cheese.
The pesto was just so bright, due to the lemon, and slightly creamy from the parmesan and olive oil. It was bursting with flavor, and my warm pasta drank it in.
To the pasta I added a can of artichoke hearts, rinsed and chopped.
And two cups of sweet grape tomatoes, chopped in half.
Three chicken breasts were chopped, tossed in the pesto, and baked until done. Them using my vegetable scissors, I shredded the meat to top the pasta salad.
Once chilled, the salad was the perfect light summer dinner, packed with protein and flavor, keeping us full as we bobbed along the waves and watched the sun go down over Boston. I am definitely going to be brainstorming more creative pasta salad ideas for the summer, just hopefully not at 4 am.
Do you have any pasta salad combos you love? Like me, do you do some of your best thinking in the middle of the night?