A Pretty Good Tortellini Salad with Pesto

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)
  1. Cook the tortellini, reserving some of the cooking water.
  2. Combine the pasta and cherry tomatoes.
  3. Toss with the pesto, thinning with the reserved cooking water as needed.
  4. 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.

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5 thoughts on “A Pretty Good Tortellini Salad with Pesto

  1. Ruth 27 August 2008 at 10:22 am

    It looks perfect. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  2. Jane Marie 28 August 2008 at 8:03 am

    This looks like a winner to me. I think I’ll try it with the pesto recipe I recently posted. You might like this one also.

  3. Shannon 28 August 2008 at 10:01 am

    Thanks, I love recipes that are versatile and adaptable. No matter how many times you make it, it’s always different.

  4. Hillary 3 September 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Love the intense green of that pesto. Great contribution to Presto Pasta Nights!

  5. […] harvest, you’re probably still making pesto and wondering what to do with it; pasta sauce and pasta salad are two great […]

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