Pasta and Chicken Salad with Pesto
Pasta salads are a typically bland lot filled with insipid flavorings and bloated pasta. Few recipes take into consideration how storage and cold will affect the flavor and texture of the pasta and accompaniments.
Why This Recipe Works
Considering the chicken first for our pasta and chicken salad recipe, we determined that the best meat for the job came from roast chicken, which lent the salad a very deep chicken flavor. Corkscrew-like fusilli did the best job of trapping and holding the dressing. Unlike hot pasta, which should be left a tad firm, we’ve found that pasta to be served cold should be cooked slightly longer, until it is uniformly tender, as it will firm up as it cools. To cool the pasta quickly, we spread it in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing it with a bit of oil to prevent sticking, and then adding the dressing.