A couple of years ago (I think), Cook’s Illustrated published a recipe for a “better pasta salad with pesto.” I clipped the recipe, so I must have made it at one time. I pulled it out recently to see if it was worth making again, perhaps with a little simplification.
I ended up making a very simple version that was, in my opinion, just as delicious (and probably lower in calories). The Cook’s Illustrated version was made with mayonnaise, which I simply eliminated–it just didn’t seem necessary. Also, CI makes their pesto with half basil, half spinach. Again, I didn’t see why I couldn’t use a more traditional–and more flavorful–pesto recipe.
This salad hardly needs a recipe, but in case you want one, here it is.
Tortellini Salad with Pesto
Serves: as many as you like; scale up or down as needed
Time to make: ~15 minutes
What you need:
- packaged tortellini in whatever flavor you like (I used spinach tortellini stuffed with cheese)
- pesto made with your favorite recipe; here’s mine (I omitted the cheese for this salad)
- cherry tomatoes, halved
- grated Parmesan cheese for garnish, if you didn’t use it in the pesto (optional)
- Cook the tortellini, reserving some of the cooking water.
- Combine the pasta and cherry tomatoes.
- Toss with the pesto, thinning with the reserved cooking water as needed.
- Garnish with grated cheese, if desired.
Voila! Simple and delicious.
Notes: You can chill the tortellini and make the salad the next day, or make it with leftover pasta; in that case, use a little water or chicken stock to thin the pesto.
This is my entry this week for Presto Pasta Nights.