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ITALIAN TORTELLINI PASTA SALAD

Vibrant Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe

Introduction

This Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad is a burst of flavors with cheesy tortellini, fresh vegetables, mozzarella, and savory salami. It’s a versatile dish, perfect as a side or a light main course, ideal for gatherings like potlucks, picnics, and family reunions.

Ingredients

Italian Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Tortellini Pasta Salad:

  • 1 (16-ounce) bag cheese tortellini
  • 1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 8 ounces mozzarella balls
  • 1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini
  • 8 ounces salami, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup Italian dressing (recipe provided above)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare Italian Dressing:
  • Whisk together red wine vinegar, crushed garlic, sugar, basil, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl or mason jar. Gradually whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Set aside.
  1. Cook Tortellini:
  • Cook the cheese tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
  1. Assemble the Salad:
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked tortellini, halved tomatoes, diced red bell pepper, chopped red onion, mozzarella balls, sliced pepperoncini, chopped salami, fresh basil, parsley, and dried oregano.
  1. Dress the Salad:
  • Drizzle the prepared Italian dressing over the salad ingredients. Toss gently to coat everything evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Chill and Serve:
  • Refrigerate the pasta salad until ready to serve. This salad is best served chilled.
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Tips

  • Tortellini Texture: Cook the tortellini slightly al dente for the best texture in the salad.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs are recommended for optimal flavor, but if using dried herbs, adjust the quantity as they are more concentrated.
  • Tomato Variation: While grape tomatoes are suggested, any ripe, sun-ripened tomatoes will work well.
  • Dressing Options: Use your favorite bottled Italian dressing or follow the provided recipe for a homemade version.
  • Mozzarella Substitution: If mozzarella balls are not available, you can substitute with cubed or shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Pepper Varieties: Experiment with different peppers like cherry peppers or additional pepperoncini for added flavor.

FAQs

Can I prepare this salad in advance?
Yes, you can make this pasta salad ahead of time. Keep it refrigerated until ready to serve.

How long can leftovers be stored?
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Can I use other types of pasta?
Feel free to substitute tortellini with other pasta shapes like penne or fusilli if desired.

Can I make the dressing ahead of time?
Yes, the dressing can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Shake well before using.