Despite the fact that a good number of us are still relying on our heater for warmth, it’s Spring, glorious Spring! I’ve always wished that the first day of this much-awaited season fell on April 1st. That way, mother nature can sneak in an epic “Oh, you were expecting spring? APRIL FOOLS!” when she dumps snow on us one last time. Hopefully it’s warm where you are; I’ll come visit. Well, until it gets a bit too warm, and then I’m out of there! I seem to hold very high temperature standards and North Carolina only feels comfortable to me for a good 2-3 months out of the year. Once it gets too hot or too cold I start to longingly stroke my passport and curse society for not delivering on those flying cars I was promised as a kid. I’m still waiting on that people. It’s 2013. Make it happen.
Cheesy Tortellini Pasta Salad
[perfect for 2 main dishes or 4 small sides // easily doubled or tripled to feed a crowd!]
- 9oz package of tri-color cheese tortellini [the fresh refrigerated variety]
- 1-2 cups of chopped veggies
- 2-4 ounces of your favorite flavorful cheese, cubed [I used Cabot Sharp Cheddar this time]
- finely grated parmesan and/or romano cheese
- salt and pepper, if desired
- veggie options:
- bell peppers
- sweet mini peppers
- Simple Italian Dressing:
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 1 TBSP mrs dash italian seasoning [this blend tastes AMAZING]
- ½ TBSP of garlic powder
- ¼ tsp of salt
- freshly ground black pepper, if desired, to taste
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
- Add your tortellini and reduce heat to gently cook the pasta, according to package instructions, to either tender or al-dente.
- Once you think they're done, grab a noodle to taste-test and remove from heat.
- Strain/drain in a colander and pour into a medium-large serving bowl.
- Toss in your chopped veggies and cheeses and pour the dressing [see below for instructions] over the noodles.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate to chill the pasta and allow the flavors from the dressing to soak into the salad. It acts almost as a marinade and infuses the noodles, veggies and cheese with flavor.
- When you're ready to dig in, feel free to drizzle a little extra dressing over the top and dust the entire bowl with parmesan romano cheese and dig. on. in.
- For the dressing: Whisk all ingredients together and allow to sit. Giving the dressing some time to mingle will not only infuse flavor into the oil/vinegar but also soften the dry herbs and seasoning. After letting it set, whisk once more and pour over your salad! It should keep in your fridge for about a week, if needed. If you're making this salad to serve the following day [it tastes awesome the next day!] feel free to follow my lead and make extra dressing so you can drizzle some extra over the salad just before serving.
T-Rex Chefs feel free to add bacon or roasted chicken/turkey/ham if you’d like!
Want it creamy? Mix the above Italian dressing recipe with your favorite homemade or [natural!] store-bought caesar dressing. I’m a bit obsessed with this one and won’t purchase any other brand. Paul always adds this to his bowl.
so… how was it?
It’s been a good year since I’ve last made this tortellini salad, so when the pilot came home to a big bowl of it, it was licked clean within the hour. We love it so! Make this as an addition to my Confetti Pasta Salad or serve it up all on it’s own! It’s perfect for cheese addicts whom, as you know, are some of the best type of addicts. Other than veggie addicts =) Those are just plain awesome.
Hope you kids a fantabulous holiday weekend! <3
Happy Easter and Passover!