Al Dente On The Side: Tortellini Salad

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Tortellini salad ranks somewhere below fried smelt and French onion soup, but still within the top five on the list of holiday mainstays in the Paventi/Mancini family.

This was a latecomer to the race. As the faces at the table changed, so too did some of the dishes. In this case, I think it was a greater variety of pasta available at Wegmans, combined with some tinkering by The Father that led us to this summertime side dish.

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All in all, we’re dealing with a pasta salad here. But, in the late 1980s/early 1990s, you had mayo-based macaroni salad or pasta salads made with wagon wheels and Good Seasons Italian dressing in a packet. This was a scene stealer back then.

And, it made for a very easy, very well received side at The Neighbor’s 4th of July cookout last week.

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Tortellini Salad
By Jared Paventi via The Father

  • 4 lbs. frozen cheese tortellini
  • 1 cup plus a pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 celery stalks, cleaned, white part removed, and sliced very thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • handful of fresh basil and parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 roasted red pepper hulls, or six large pieces

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add kosher salt and pasta. Cook 3 minutes, drain and immediately run cold water over the top to stop cooking. Let stand in the sink for remaining water to drain.

2014-07-04 at 11-25-14In a medium nonreactive mixing bowl, whisk together garlic, oil, a pinch of salt and vinegars until well blended.

2014-07-04 at 11-23-02Add celery, herbs, and peppers in a large mixing bowl. Give the pasta one last shake in a colander, add to the vegetables and toss. Pour vinaigrette over the pasta and toss again.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours and serve.

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