Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mom's Tortellini Salad

This tortellini salad is perfect for the 4th of July, as well as for other summer picnics and barbeques. I'm not generally a fan of pasta salads. Most I've had over the years have been dressed in globs of mayonnaise (sitting out in the sun, no less) and tossed with things that don't seem to fit, like shredded carrots and hard boiled eggs. Thankfully, this tortellini salad contains none of those things, and instead tastes relatively light and fresh. It's the summer version of heartiness, something that will help fill you up without dragging you down. The balsamic dressing compliments the pasta and vegetables wonderfully. It's a fantastic side dish for a burger, but I've also served it as light dinner on its own.


1 lb tortellini (see note below)
2/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced width wise
8oz block mozzarella cheese, cubed

1. In a large measuring cup, or small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Add the chopped green pepper and diced onion. Let the vegetables soak in the dressing as you prepare the rest of the components.

2. In a large stock pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions (about 10 minutes for dried tortellini). Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the dressing and vegetables, tomatoes and mozzarella. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for a few hours, or overnight, before serving.

Note: I use Barilla dried tortellini, as it's the only kind I can find in my local market. Specifically, I use an 8oz bag of the three-cheese variety and an 8oz bag of spinach-ricotta. I imagine fresh tortellini could be used as well.

Source: my mom :)

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