It’s great to have one or two cold pasta salads in your repertoire. They are simple to make and you can tweak them to your own taste.
This one includes cheese tortellini and baby spinach. For this party, I served the pasta mounded on top of the spinach, but I have also tossed it all together and served it that way.
Using the highest quality ingredients is what makes this dish stand out. Buy the freshest tortellini available and the sweetest organic pearl or cherry tomatoes, and the most tender baby spinach.
If you have a large menu and are concerned about getting everything ready on time, one of my do-ahead tricks is to cook the tortellini the day before, lightly toss it in olive oil — so the individual tortellini don’t stick together — and store it covered in the refrigerator. Also, prep the dressing two days before and store it separately.
The day of the party, all you have to do is bring everything to room temperature, toss it together, add the fresh basil and Parmesan cheese — and voila, it’s done!
Don’t be afraid to double the recipe: Leftovers are great for several days!
TORTELLINI SALAD WITH SPINACH, CHERRY TOMATOES & LEMON DRESSING
EVENT: Baby Shower
SERVES: 6-8 People
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced shallot
Salt and pepper to taste
2 9-oz packages cheese or spinach tortellini
1 pint pearl or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil to taste
2 bags (5 oz.) baby spinach
Extra olive oil for pasta if making ahead
1. Boil water for pasta.
2. While water is on stove, make salad dressing. Combine: olive oil, lemon juice, minced shallot, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
3. Toss dressing with tomatoes and set aside.
4. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain in collander.
5. If making ahead, toss tortellini with small amount of olive oil, so the individual tortellini don’t stick together. OR: If serving that day, toss immediately with tomatoes and salad dressing.
6. Toss with Parmesan cheese and torn fresh basil.
7. Mound on bed of baby spinach and enjoy!
A NOTE: If making ahead, be sure and take cooked tortellini and dressed tomatoes out of the refrigerator, and allow to come to room temperature before combining ingredients.