Tortellini Salad

05aTortelliniSaladbzLOThe summer salad season is starting, so I figure this is the perfect time to feature a pasta salad.

01aSaladDressingMixbzLOBut not just any pasta salad; this one starts with cooked cheese filled dried tortellini, then marinates them overnight in Italian dressing so the pasta can soak up all that zippy flavor, and then gets tasty veggies and salami and a bit of mayonnaise added to make for one fine pasta salad.

Don’t care for my veggie choices or salami? Go ahead and substitute your own faves and mebbe some drained and flaked tuna. It’s all good, and pretty simple to toss together.

INGREDIENTS
Tortellini:
•7 oz dried tortellini
•1 cup Italian salad dressing*

02aTortellinibzLOFor the salad:
•1 Persian cucumber, quartered and sliced
•Grape tomatoes, sliced
•1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
•Black olives
•Marinated Mozzarella cheese, sliced
•Sliced salami
•2 tbsp Italian dressing
•1/4 cup mayonnaise

*I found this all natural, no funky added ingredients salad dressing mix at one of my local markets; but feel free to use your own favorite dressing or mix.

03bStirbzLOCook the tortellini in boiling, well salted water according to package directions, then drain and transfer to a bowl.

Stir one cup of the Italian dressing into the warm tortellini and set aside to cool.

Cover the bowl tightly and stash in the fridge over night. The tortellini will absorb most of the dressing – and all that flavor – and make for a nice, zippy base for your pasta salad.

04bAddVeggiesbzLONote: this is a good rule for any pasta salad recipe; double the amount of mayonnaise or other dressing called for, add half to the just cooked and drained pasta, and stash in the fridge to rest for a couple of hours or – always more better – overnight. The next day (ideally), add the remaining mayonnaise or dressing and whatever other indredients and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or chill again before serving.

05bTortSaladbzLOThe next day, add the veggies, cheese and salami and toss to combine.

You could serve it just like this, but I chose to stir two tablespoons of the Italian dressing into 1/4 cup of mayonnaise and toss the salad with that before serving.

Nice salad, and since you can do most of the work the night before – prep your veggies and salami and stuff while you’re boiling the tortellini, then stash ’em all in covered bowls until needed the next day – you can simply toss it all together just before you need to serve (or take to a picnic or barbecue) and relax in the knowledge of a salad, well made.

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