This is just one example of how a good pesto can be used so well in so many ways. People always rave about this combo and I can't blame 'em — it's one of those matches made in heaven. The pesto coats the warm pasta to make a creamy, rich sauce, which is accented by the crumbled feta and contrasted by the sweet and tart cherry tomatoes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Stir in the bow ties and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water just until it stops steaming. Bounce the pasta around to get rid of as much water as you can.
Dump the pasta into a large serving bowl. Stir in the pesto until the pasta is coated. Toss in the cherry tomatoes and the crumbled feta. Taste the salad and season it as you like with salt and pepper. You can make the salad up to about 1 hour before you serve it. Check out the salt and pepper just before you serve the salad. If it's looking a little dry, add some olive oil and stir it around.
5 big handfuls basil leaves (about 2 hefty bunches)
1/2 cup pine nuts or 3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Juice of 1 small lemon
2 cloves garlic, peeled
About 20 grinds freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients with 1/2 cup of the oil in a blender and blend. Gradually drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup of oil until pesto is thick and smooth.