Friday, May 6, 2011

Cheese Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad

Kathleen was wanting to make this to take for lunches while she babysat. We didn't have any tortellini, so we substituted another pasta. This was very good--even with our substitutions!

Cheese Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad

1 (14 ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained, quartered
1 (10 ounce) cont. grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise (We used sun dried tomatoes, rehydrated in the oil used for the recipe)
1 (6 ounce) cans medium black olives, drained, sliced in half lengthwise (We omitted)
 1 green bell peppers, diced
 1 (20 ounce) packages cheese-filled egg tortellini, cooked al dente, drained ( fresh or frozen) (We used Penne Pasta)
 2/3 cup olive oil, more if needed
 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, the kind in the can
 1/2 teaspoon salt, more if needed
 2 teaspoons minced garlic
 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed 8 ounces (We used shredded)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cook pasta, set aside to drain and cool a bit. In large bowl or punch bowl, add rest of ingredients, folding gently til well mixed. Gently fold in pastas well. Adjust seasoning to taste, meaning, add more salt, Parmesan, etc., til you like it. Serve immediately, or refrigerate.

*If you make this say a day ahead of time, you'll need to "refresh" this. Just add a bit more olive oil, salt and Parmesan before serving. This salad is best, though, room temp, or even slightly warm.

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