I’ve never been a pasta salad fan, and when I think about it I think pasta and funky vegetables all covered in a thick mayo dressing…the last thing I want on a hot day is a bunch of fat weighing me down! This salad is different. It is fairly light (it is still pasta and cheese, but no heavy dressing!), and served cool or at room temperature, and I find it to be very refreshing alongside something hot off the grill. It is also perfect for a light dinner on an evening in the park.
This tortellini salad has been a favorite of mine my whole life. The recipe is my mom’s, and I remember it from countless picnics and school lunches. It’s always a hit and it’s very easy to throw together. I made it for the Fourth of July, and everyone enjoyed it!
serves 8-10 or so
1 large package cheese tortellini (We have always used Buitoni.)
8 oz. mozzarella
1 package grape tomatoes
1/4 c fresh basil, julienned; or alternatively, dried oregano and basil to your liking
Fresh ground black pepper
1. Cook tortellini according to package directions.
2. In the meantime, slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and cube mozzarella.
3. When pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Shake to dry, then transfer to serving bowl.
4. Add prepared tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, and gently toss to mix. drizzle with enough olive oil to coat pasta, and add balsamic in to your liking – maybe 4 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons of balsamic.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste, and mix gently. Chill in your refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature.
This recipe is great to make ahead because the longer it sits, the more the flavors combine. It also would probably be delicious with cubed salami as well, although I have never tried a meat version.