Archive for August 1st, 2014

This recipe is the one that, to me, says ‘it’s summer’!

It is the combination of colors, the freshness, the cornucopia of summer vegetable and herb flavors with that deliciously filled pasta, also known as the ‘belly button’ pasta (obviously an outie, or maybe an innie from the inside view). Also, you can ‘change up’ the vegetables that you use, depending on what is fresh and what you have on hand. Who doesn’t love versatility?

I also love it because you can make it the day ahead, or even the day you want to eat it (although it is better if made ahead, even a few hours, to let the flavors blend).

This recipe came from the same summer cooking contest as my summer recipe a couple of weeks ago (on July 30), in our local newspaper. I cut both out of the paper, and have been making both of them, regularly ever since.

So, here is the recipe of the week …

Tortellini Pesto Salad

Chop up 1/4C fresh parsley, and 3/4C fresh basil (okay, confession time … years ago, I bought a butt load of herbs for my garden, and planted them all together. Well, the next year only one came back … what I thought was basil … not! It was Thyme, but I thought it was basil … so, for about four years I made this recipe with fresh thyme … and it tasted pretty good too! So, if you, like me, have blond roots, and no sense of taste, you can use either one … but, I digress ;).

Whip together 1C mayonnaise, and 2Tbsp milk (or, if you want to live on the edge, half and half … but I do prefer my blue-hued non-fat milk) until smooth. Then stir in the parsley, the BASIL, 1/4C fresh parmesan cheese (if it comes out of a can, that you bought from a shelf, and not from a cooler, it is NOT fresh … fresh parmesan melts, stuff in cans does not … I am a parmesan snob), and 2 cloves minced garlic.

Set your delicious saucy mixture into the refrigerator, while you get ready to chop, chop, chop.

Now, this next step is only for the adventurous cooks out there … it is the vegetable chopping time! And, if you take your vegetable chopping as seriously as I do, when it comes to knives, size matters! The bigger the better to make cutting vegetables more … funner (?).

Get ready to slice / julienne your 1C carrots, and 1C zucchini. Then cut 1C of cherry tomatoes in half. Other vegetables that could be good are small snow peas, corn kernels, broccoli (small florets), diced sweet peppers and any other vegetables that sound appealing. Once you are finished slicing better than a Slice-O-Matic, get out your P & P’s … pots and pans …

Really you just need the pot … Fill it about three quarters full of water, cover and place on stove top on high. Once it boils, add salt and 1 package (24oz / 518g) cheese tortellini (I like the ones that are multi-colored … orange and green … it kind of makes you think you are getting healthy vegetables in your carbohydrate-laden pasta), and cook until al dente (tender, but firm). Drain in colander, and run cold water over the pasta, until cooled down.

Toss pasta, vegetables and saucy stuff in a big bowl (and if you are nuts about nuts, throw in 3/4C walnuts … my family is nutty enough without them). Then chill until ready to eat!

It is great served with grilled meats, or on it’s own as the main event. It will be hard to eat only a little bit.

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