This is a family favorite summer salad, and it’s also very good at potlucks. It’s easy to make and doesn’t contain any mayo or eggs, so it’s very forgiving in hot weather. Originally I got this recipe from my friend Colleen. She had this recipe from her sister, and brought a big bowlful over for us just after Peter was born in ’97. We enjoyed it so much that I’ve been making it ever since.
2 packages tricolor cheese tortellini
1.5 lb tomatoes (mix of colors is nice)
balsamic vinaigrette dressing**
1 can black pitted olives
salt & pepper
crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Prepare the tortellini according to the package directions. Rinse in cold water to cool them down, drain and toss with olive oil so that they don’t stick. Meanwhile dice the tomatoes into a fairly large dice (1/2 inch+ cubes). Use the olives whole if they’re small or cut them in half or slices. Make a basil chiffonade using about 3-4 stems of basil, you can adjust this to your taste. Toss all the ingredients together with the vinaigrette, adding the feta if you want it.
Garnish with some basil leaves and some additional feta if you want. I often pass additional feta on the side for those who like it a lot.
Notes:I usually get the 12oz bags of tortellini from the frozen section, but I’ve also made it with dried tortellini and it comes out fine. Of course it’s fine to use the plain tortellini, but the tri-color look prettier.
Any decent vinaigrette dressing will be fine. I like to make my own using a blend of herbs from Penzeys.
1-2 Tbsp Country French herb mix from Penzeys
1 Tbsp water
1-2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Mix herbs with water, sugar and mustard. Let sit for a few minutes. Stir in vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream while whisking to make an emulsion.