Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. (Be sure to use only half the package, if you have a 16 oz. box of pasta.)
To prepare the dressing, add the shallot, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, olive oil, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of salt to the blender. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if needed to get everything blended smoothly. (I use my narrow Vitamix to blend this, but if you have a wider blender base, you might need to add 1 extra tablespoon of oil or water to help this blend. Use as little liquid as is necessary.)
I like to chop the vegetables while I wait for the pasta to cook, to be as effecient with my time as possible. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, and arugula to the bowl as you go. When the pasta is done, drain and rinse it to cool it off, then add it to the bowl with the vegetables, along with the drained chickpeas.
Pour the dressing over the pasta, beans, and vegetables and toss well to coat. I like to season it with an additional teaspoon of salt, to make sure the flavors pop. Allow the salad to marinate for at least 15 minutes, then give it another good stir before serving.
You can serve this pasta salad at room temperature, or chilled from the fridge. Keep in mind that flavors mellow significantly when cold, so you might want to taste and adjust before serving again straight from the fridge. A squeeze of lemon juice can brighten things up, if you find the flavor isn't tangy enough, or you can extra salt to bring out the flavors again.
Pesto pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you want to add cheese to this salad, you can add 1/2 cup of crumbled feta or Parmesan. In that case, you might want cut back on the salt slightly in this recipe, since these cheeses will add extra salty flavor, too.