29 March 2013

tortellini pasta salad

Cheesy Tortellini Pasta Salad


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.

While I await my flying car and robot sidekick, you should hop in the kitchen and make some pasta salad.  Yes I'm peddling that stuff again.  It's hard not to break out the pasta salad each week when your husband looks at you like you're a sparkly unicorn every time you make it.  He lights up like a bird with a french fry, grabs a fork, and gets to work on that bowl like it's the last thing he might ever eat.  I guess some people react that way to cake or ice cream... but for Paul?  It's pasta salad.  I love that man.

Cheesy Tortellini Pasta Salad

Cheesy Tortellini Pasta Salad
[perfect for 2 main dishes or 4 small sides]

ingredients
9oz package of tri-color cheese tortellini [the fresh refrigerated kind]
1-2 cups of chopped veggies [tomatoes, pesto tomatoes, bell peppers, mini peppers, etc...]
2-4 ounces of your favorite flavorful cheese, cubed [I used Cabot Sharp Cheddar this time]
finely grated parmesan and romano cheese [fresh or the sprinkle kind!]
salt and pepper, if desired

Simple Italian Dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 TBSP mrs dash italian seasoning [this blend tastes AMAZING]
1/2 TBSP of garlic powder
1/4 tsp of salt
freshly ground black pepper, if desired, to taste

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.

Vegansaurus Chefs veganize by subbing regular pasta + nixing the cheese [like this]
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.

Tortellini Pasta Salad

get cooking!
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add your tortellini and reduce heat to gently cook the pasta 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 [recipe above] 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.

Cheesy Tortellini Pasta Salad

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.

need a few more salads for your arsenal?
Confetti Pasta SaladSummery Chickpea & Pepper SaladCaprese Tortellini Pasta Salad Kebabs Homestyle Macaroni SaladGarlicky Kale SaladVegetarian Taco Salad

Hope you kids a fantabulous holiday weekend! <3 
Happy Easter and Passover!

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24 comments:

  1. Since I am a cheese and veggie addict, this is just perfect. It looks fabulous.

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  2. We must hangout. You can make the Italian dinner and I'll bastardize an Italian dessert (PB cannoli... on a bagel for the baby-bagel?).

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  3. Oh my goodness. I need to make this asap. Looks so good! My mom makes a similar one but its with different pasta.

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  4. Ahhh, I recognize those pics! ;) Love it! I seriously want to just put my face in that big ass serving bowl! I don't know why, but I have NEVER bought the cheese tortellini (which just took me THREE tries to spell...sheesh!) and now I seriously need to get to the store for that Dash blend...I swear I should own stock in that company for as much business as they get from me! Their chipotle seasoning is my FAVE!

    Happy Easter babe! Hope it warms up a bit for ya...it's been yucky and rainy here all week! I totally second the whole flying car gig! Or at LEAST some sort of hologram shit! C'mon people...get with it!

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  5. Yum ... love this one. This would be great to make for a party!!

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  6. I was just telling my fiancee yesterday that tortellini is the one thing I miss about being gluten free. I need a substitute that doesn't taste like cardboard. Maybe I'll just eat this anyway and feel sick later. It's worth it sometimes...

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  7. I just pinned this bad boy! My husband and sons thank you! :-)

    Happy Easter!

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  8. This sounds so tasty!! I didn't try tortellini for the first time until recently (I know, how is that possible?!), and I'm kind of in love with it now. Do you have a recommended brand for the tortellini?

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    1. Thanks Caroline! I can't recall the brand Sams Club carries but it's delicious! I also *love* the buitioni brand tortellini - the fresh kind from the refrigerated section in the store beats the frozen and shelf stable ones hands down!

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  9. That Mrs. Dash seasoning is super amazing!!! I do LOVE that blend!

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  10. I love Mrs. Dash on everything - but cheese + pasta may take the cake ;)

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  11. this looks so good! i'm always looking for easy side dishes and this will be perfect. we're having friends over sunday and i think i'm going to have to try this!

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  12. Your tortellini salad looks delicious! It's great that you made your own dressing for it--and that Mrs. Dash could play a part. Before your next purchase, be sure to download a coupon from our website:
    http://www.mrsdash.com/Save-50-Cents-Coupon.aspx

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  13. This looks so good. I love it.

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  14. Made this last night and it was so good! I served it over baby spinach and added cucumbers to get some extra veggies in. :)

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    1. You get 1000000 bonus points for extra veggies! AND a gold star! <3 Thanks Dani!

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  15. I made this over the weekend for a group. Everyone loved it!

    Thanks!
    Lauren

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    1. Yayy!!!! Glad you guys liked it, Lauren! Thanks!

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  16. Hi. I made this salad this weekend for my son's bday party. I added green peppers, cherry tomatoes, Gorgonzola and Parmesan cheese. It was a hit. Thanks for the recipe.

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  17. That sounds tasty, but just wanted to say you are so funny!! Flying cars and lights up like a bird with a French fry! Lol I love your writing.

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  18. I just made this last night for my family, and it was gone in maybe 3 minutes max. Great, easy recipe!! The dressing is YUMMY and I love putting cheese on my cheese.

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