Lemon Pesto Pasta Salad (base recipe)

by Bernice Marinelli
(Rockford, IL USA)

This recipe is the most requested dish I make. It makes a summer Italian gathering fun. I use fresh basil from my garden in the summer. I grow 3 Large containers of basil on my deck.


  • Fresh Large Leaf Basil (at least 2 large handfuls)
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 large or 3 small Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 tea spoons Sea Salt(less if you salt your pasta while cooking)
  • 1 lb of Cherry Tomatoes or Plum Tomatoes
  • 1 lb of Orzo Pasta


  • Boil the Orzo Pasta until done to your taste
    Drain well
  • In a Blender place the Basil, Garlic, Salt and Juice of 2 lemons.
  • Blend until the basil is chopped finely and all ingredients is well blended.
  • With Blender on low, slowly add the oil to the mixture.
  • Add salt if necessary
  • Cut Cherry Tomates in half or chop plum tomatoes into small chuck.
  • While Orzo Pasta is still warm add tomatoes and dressing.
  • Toss until all ingredients are well mixed.
  • You may need to add a small amount of oil to pasta if the pasta is sticky.

    Serve warm or cold. Mangia!!!

    Variations that can be tried,such as adding kalamta olives, fresh peas or capers, feta cheese, Romano or any Italian grating cheese.
    This salad makes a beautiful presentation and is totally Italian.

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