8/10/07

Italian Tortellini Salad

Today for lunch I leftover tortellini salad from last night. It's always a hit at our home in the summer time when our bodies seem to crave fresh red peppers, a light zesty italian dressing those awesome artichokes.

I actually make this different each time because I use what I have on hand. That's the beauty of a recipe such as this one. The only thing I really would stress is please don't use a bottled dressing. Oh, I well know they are easy to buy and quick to use, but the flavor isn't the same and the peppers and tortellini really deserve so much more.

The first step to this recipe is buy a package of Good Seasons dry Italian dressing mix. I buy a box of 4 when I buy them because use them in so many foods. I also make my own version if I don't have a box on hand, but I suppose, in the long run, if you don't have a mix on hand go ahead and use that bottled dressing you have in the refrigerator. Just promise me that next time you will try making the dressing from scratch or the mix instead so you can see what a wonderful improvement it is.


Italian Tortellini Salad
(pictured above)


1 package dry stuffed tortellini pasta (the flavor is your choice)
1 red pepper
1 package of Good Seasons Italian dressing
capers (optional)
fresh shredded asiago, parmesan cheese mixture or provolone, diced
tomato (optional)
cucumber (optional)
fresh snipped basil
1 can or bottle artichoke hearts, drained (water based is best)


Boil the pasta until just tender. Rinse under cool water and continue rinsing until the pasta is cooled. While the pasta is boiling make the dressing using rice vinegar and canola oil if possible instead of distilled vinegar and vegetable oil. In the meantime dice the red pepper, using 1/2 the pepper for most salads, but the whole pepper if you know the people you are serving really like fresh red peppers (like us!). Dice the cucumber and zucchini, tomato as well if you are using it. Add about 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil - or just a 1/2 t of dried. Stir in drained artichokes. I choose to use water packed so the marinade doesn't interfere with the Italian dressing flavor of the pasta salad.

Mix with the chilled pasta and chill until serving. SIMPLE AND OH SO GOOD!

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