Recipe: Oakville Grocery’s Pesto Pasta Salad

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The recipe for pesto pasta salad in the “Official Oakville Grocery Cookbook” features preserved Meyer lemon, mozzarella, pesto, pasta and Parmesan cheese. (Courtesy Erin Scott)

A welcome addition to any wine country picnic, this pesto pasta salad from Napa’s venerable Oakville Grocery pairs perfectly whatever you’d like to serve at a summer party, whether it’s poolside, at the beach or picnicking amid the redwoods. Serve it as a side for grilled chicken or steak or simply sandwiches.

The recipe appears in the market’s new “Oakville Grocery, The Cookbook” (Weldon Owen, $35), which suggests you look for cherry-sized mozzarella balls called “ciliegine” and consider using hand-milled, handmade pasta from San Francisco’s Bayview Pasta.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Serves 4 to 6


Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound orecchiette or other short pasta

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ a preserved Meyer lemon, homemade or store-bought (optional)

1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered

½ pound fresh, small mozzarella balls or ciliegine, halved

1 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought, plus more as needed

1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

DIRECTIONSFill a large pot with 4 quarts of water and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta and stir for the first minute of cooking and occasionally thereafter. Cook until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain into a colander and rinse under cold running water until cooled. Drain again, shaking out the excess moisture. Transfer to a large, wide serving bowl. Drizzle with the oil, toss to coat evenly and set aside to cool completely.

If using the preserved lemon, remove and discard the pulp, then rinse and mince the peel. Add to the bowl with the pasta.

Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, pesto, Parmesan, lemon juice (if using), and pepper flakes (if using) and toss to coat evenly, adding more pesto if needed to loosen the pasta. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, black pepper and lemon juice as needed, then serve. (The salad can be made up to 2 hours in advance and kept at room temperature; do not refrigerate.)

— Courtesy “Oakville Grocery, The Cookbook” (Weldon Owen, $35)

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.