Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Warm Tortellini Salad with Cherry Tomatoes & Other Good Things

This is a very tasty, flavorful meal that takes almost no time at all. If you know you'll be in a hurry you can cut up the tomatoes, onion, and asparagus beforehand, and you've got dinner ready in about 5 minutes.

9 oz cheese tortellini
1/4 of a red onion, sliced (I chopped mine, for some reason)
1/2 of a 14 oz jar of marinated artichokes, drained
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 bunch of asparagus cut into 1 1/2 inch-long-ish pieces (about 1/2 pound)
Fresh parsley or basil, chopped
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Apple cider or red wine vinegar

1. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Add asparagus to cook for the last minute of the pasta's cooking time.
2. While the pasta is cooking, mix a good drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a splash of apple cider or red wine vinegar in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper and other veggies.
3. Drain tortellini and asparagus and add to the dressing and veggie mixture. Turn to coat everything, sprinkle with parsley or basil, and serve.

I used parsley mostly just because I didn't have basil on hand. I think basil, or some combo of the two, would be ideal. To be honest, parsley is just a tiny bit grassy for this dish, but I love fresh herbs of any kind so it didn't bother me at all.

What I didn't add, which I think I should have, is a bit of grated Parmesan cheese right before serving. You could also add some arugula or baby spinach if you were feeling adventurous. Still, this was very tasty, and obviously super easy. I love cold pasta salad, even for dinner, but I think the fresh, warm pasta really makes this dish. The pasta warms the veggies up, but just slightly. This will make a great summer meal. For us, this made two generous servings, though to be honest, we could have made it three, especially if it were served with some crusty garlic bread.

A word to the wise: It's asparagus season! If you're into the stuff, which I sure am, now is the time to get the best flavor at the lowest price. We are about halfway through the season, with a month to go. Steam it, grill it, boil it, whatever you like - just don't miss it!

Quote of the Day: "Life is a combination of magic and pasta." ~ Federico Fellini

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