Prep 30 mins
Cook 10 mins
I took an idea from Michael Chiarello on the Food Network, and tweaked it according to a favorite vinaigrette recipe of mine. This is a delightful main-dish salad on a hot summer night. Grill up some foccacia, brushed with a good olive oil like Frantoia or Ravida, and serve it in pie-shaped wedges alongside. Good eats!
For the Vinaigrette
- 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar (good quality)
- 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (basic, not the good stuff)
- 16 ounces dried cheese tortellini
- 1 -2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff)
- 2 (16 ounce) containers cherry tomatoes or 2 (16 ounce) containerscampari tomatoes, quartered
- 8 -10 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 6 -8 scallions, sliced
- 1⁄3 cup fresh basil, torn
- For the Vinaigrette: Whir first five ingredients in blender until smooth. Drizzle thin stream of olive oil in until all is emulsified. Set aside.
- Boil tortellini according to directions, drain, rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Spread cooked pasta out on a jelly roll pan, drizzle with the good olive oil and sprinkle with pepper; stir up to coat tortellini with oil. This prevents the pasta from going glue-y when added to the rest of the salad ingredients. Set aside, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to a couple hours.
- In a very large bowl, place quartered tomatoes, feta cheese crumbles, scallions, and pour about half the vinaigrette over, tossing gently. Refrigerate the tomato mixture until 2-3 hours before serving.
- About 2-3 hours before serving, toss the oiled tortellini with the tomato mixture, add a bit more dressing, if you think it needs it. Refrigerate. Just before serving, toss the fresh basil with the tortellini-tomato mixture. Serve.
This is a delightfully different salad and was well received for Thanksgiving dinner. I was amazed at how thick the dressing got and it did not have an oily taste to it even though there is a lot of oil in the dressing. Don't skimp on the Feta as it really is a highlight. Thanks for sharing your recipe. This was made for Fall PAC 2008.
Wow - this was fantastic! I don't usually like pasta salad but this was so, so good I wanted to make it again the next day. I wasn't sure if the Feta would appeal to my picky eaters, so I substituted small chunks of mozzarella and parmesan. Also, I added some diced green pepper for a bit of crunch. This has become my new summer picnic recipe! PS - I have now completed a Feta taste test in my household, and everyone approved, so next time I will try it with the Feta instead. :)