Hot Pasta Salad (Adam)

I originally made this for a Canada Day picnic with my girlfriend. I did not think much of making a pasta salad—I threw in a bunch of vegetables that I found around the house and made a makeshift sauce. However, before I left the house, my mother happened to observe what I was doing and seemed to come to the conclusion that I was doing something highly sophisticated that surely must have been the result of my many years of experience as a cook (in which I only ever cooked seafood, pizza, and salads). She was highly impressed with it, and has asked me to make it nearly every time I’ve been home since. The recipe has evolved a bit since then, received a name, and evolved beyond “throw some vegetables together with some pasta.” And that is the story of how I was asked to write this recipe.

Oh, and the Canada Day picnic went very well. The fireworks that they set off for the holiday went very well with this dish. If fireworks are unavailable, a nice red wine works well too.

Hot Pasta Salad

450g Gemelli (if you can’t find gemelli, macaroni or fusilli work well too.)
1 onion
450g white mushrooms
2 bell peppers (I use one red and one yellow for colour contrast and taste)
1 small jar (200g) pickled mushrooms
1 small jar (350g) pickled artichoke hearts
Olive oil
1 cup pesto (see Meher’s recipe, or just use storebought pesto. The basil and sundried tomato versions both work.)

Serves 6

Other vegetables can be used, depending on your tastes. Olives are good, and I’m curious to try asparagus, eggplant, or marinated tofu strips.

  1. Set a large pot of water to boil with salt and olive oil.
  2. Cut up the vegetables. Smaller is better, I like to cut the peppers into strips the size of whatever pasta I’m using.
  3. Once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta to the boiling water
  4. In a separate pan now, heat oil. Make sure that the bottom can be covered with the oil before you start adding vegetables.
  5. Time is of the essence here. To ensure that everything is at the best texture/temperature, you need to cook the vegetables in exactly the same amount of time as the pasta. Start by adding the onion to the oil
  6. Once the onions are soft and start to brown, add the white mushrooms and fry until the mushrooms soften.
  7. Add the peppers and sauté all the vegetables together.
  8. Add the pickled artichokes and mushroom once the pasta is almost finished.
  9. While the vegetables are frying, drain the pasta once it is done. Pour it into a serving bowl—we usually use a large salad bowl.
  10. Add the vegetables, followed by the pesto. Mix everything well. If necessary, add some olive oil to help spread the pesto.
  11. Serve with sprinkled romano or parmesan cheese, black pepper, and/or chili flakes to taste.


There was considerable discussion over the latest incarnation of the dish as to what its Italian name would be. Suggestions included ‘pasta primavera al pesto,’ ‘gemelli al pesto’ and so on. Anyone whose Italian is better than ours (not hard), feel free to offer suggestions.


Adam John Preparations
Frying onions Add the mushrooms... ...and the peppers...
...and the marinated stuff. Get the pesto! Don't overcook the pasta!


Jack-O-Lantern pudding

Chicken Curry

Dutch Baby

Hot Pasta Salad with Pesto




text and images on this site copyright © 2008 M. Shaik, T. A. Dickinson, A. K. Dickinson, and (or) J. S. Dickinson
posted by tim dot dickinson at utoronto dot ca on 31-Dec-2008