Radiatore pasta look very similar to rotini shaped pasta but they’re shorter, with a ruffled edge. Whenever I cook this particular shape of pasta, I know the dish will be devoured. There is just something about the shape of this pasta that kids love. And grown-ups who are like kids, like my Lulu, love it as well.
We planned a last-minute picnic and I needed to come up with a quick and tasty dish that everyone could enjoy. Pasta salad is always a crowd pleaser and with the help of my sisters-in-law, I threw together the radiatore pasta with a cilantro lime cashew pesto sauce, with some roasted walnuts added for texture. To this, I incorporated vegetables, specifically broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes. I had bought really cute perlini mozzarella balls and I added them to the dish, because who can say no to cheese?
For the non-vegetarians, there was some smoked salmon. I like smoked salmon in pasta salad because it works so well cold and is tastier than canned tuna or boiled chicken.
1. Info for Cashew Pesto Radiatore Pasta Salad
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 25 mins
- Servings: 6
- Calories: 416kcal
2. Ingredients for Cashew Pesto Radiatore Pasta Salad
- 1 (16-ounce) package radiatore pasta (I used tri-color pasta)
- 1/3 cup walnuts, dry roasted (check tips)
- 3 cups cilantro (about 1 bunch), tightly packed
- 1 lime
- 1/2 cup cashew nuts, dry roasted, coarsely chopped (check tips)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 large jalapeño chile, roasted, skinned, seeded, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/3 teaspoon coriander seeds, freshly ground
- 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly ground
- 4 ounces perlini fresh mozarella cheese (pearl-sized bites), drained
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, coarsely chopped
- 2 zucchini, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 5 large broccoli florets
- For the lime: Zest and juice the lime. Set aside.
- For the cilantro lime cashew pesto: Wash the cilantro. Quickly blanch it for about 10 seconds in boiling salted water and transfer to an ice bath, to maintain a bright green color. Drain thoroughly of all water and pat dry on paper towels. Coarsely chop the cilantro.
- In a blender (or a mini-food prep if you have one, see tips), mix the cilantro, jalapeño, cashews, ground coriander seeds, olive oil, garlic, 1/3 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Add the juice of half the lime. Set aside.
- For the radiatore pasta: Bring about 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add the radiatore pasta, bring back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. That way the pasta is cooked all the way through evenly. Cook the pasta for about 12 minutes total. Salt (with 2/3 teaspoon) the water half-way through the cooking process (it will bring out the natural flavor of the pasta and the pasta will be more tender) and keep stirring every now and then so that the pasta does not stick to the bottom. It may take longer than the cooking time that is written on the box. When the pasta is cooked (cooked inside and out but still in shape and firm), transfer the radiatore to a large flat platter. Add the remaining lime juice and its zest. Season with the remaining salt. Let the pasta cool to room temperature.
- For the zucchini and broccoli: Blanch the zucchini in about a quart of salted boiling water. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the broccoli. Cook for another 2 minutes. Strain and immediately transfer the greens into a cold water bath. Pat dry on a towel. Cut the broccoli florets into small bite-sized pieces.
- Assembly time: In a large serving bowl, combine the radiatore pasta, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, diced bell pepper, zucchini and broccoli and cilantro lime cashew pesto. Toss well. Plastic-wrap the bowl, and chill it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Serve at room temperature. Add the roasted walnuts at the last minute for extra crunch.
- Bon appétit!