Some years back paging the thin, worn pages of a bent magazine I came upon an appetizingly delight of a photo, something of a Tortellini with Tomatoes Salad. Perhaps you have had this happen too, waiting for a salon appointment busying yourself in the skimming of magazine upon magazine until as soon as you come upon an article of interest, you are then notified that your appointment is about to begin. Painfully torn on separating from momentary concentration of interest, you set the magazine back into its assigned place and obligingly trudge on back to the hair washing area. In this case, I first made a quick mental note on some of the ingredients certain that overall, these were enough to inspire possibilities for some future menu item.
However, at the time, as quickly as I was in and out of the salon, so was the memory of my momentary hesitation in parting with the earlier magazine photo and recipe of interest. While planning a variety of foods and color combinations to serve on Christmas Eve the small photo of previous months came back to mind along with the idea of serving tortellini as a little different pasta item colorfully combined as part of the evening Buffet with bright red tomatoes interspersed with herbed specks of green throughout.
The salad went over brilliantly and added a nice festive look accompanying a vast array of choice items all specially designed for the Christmas Eve festivities.
Fast-forward the Tortellini Salad to when my youngest, Alex the Athlete leaves for college also playing on the sports team that hosts Tailgate events following each game. One week, early on in the first fall sports season when fresh tomatoes were still plentiful and I was still learning the ropes and ins and outs involved in coordinating the sometimes twice-weekly Team Family Tailgates, I began contemplating on this crowd pleaser and decided to give it a try.
That was four years ago now and last week I prepared my final Tortellini Salad with Tomato and Garlic Dressing for the Team Family Tailgate, nothing remained but a couple bits of the rubbed tomatoes once dressing the dish.
I should like to share this recipe with those parents returning and future parents privileged enough to be a part of our team, learning the ropes and the ins and outs on coordinating a fine Team Family Tailgate. Besides, with Alex graduating after next semester, it will be the first time in about fifteen years that I will have a weekend to go to a salon rather than a field or court event most every weekend. You never know what I might find in the thin, worn pages of a bended magazine waiting for my hair appointment before I will once again be making a return visit to our Tailgate, cheering the team, greeting old friends, meeting those new, and alongside sharing new recipes still. Go Team.
- For the Salad
- 2 10-12 ounce bags frozen tortellini, cooked in salted boiling water until just done then cooled on a long baking tray
- 1 tablespoon olive oil stirred into cooked, drained tortellini's
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, not in oil, sliced thinly, then halved
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered or halved
- 1 16 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained, quartered
- 3 scallions, green part included, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves, sliced chiffonade, then cut in half
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- For the Dressing:
- 6 medium size tomatoes, cored, cut in half, grated on a hand grater down to the skin, discard skin and transfer grated tomatoes to a mixing bowl
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- Gently combine the cooled and oiled tortellini's with the sun dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and scallions
- Fold through the fresh herbs, sprinkle in the salt and pepper, stir, check seasoning, adjust to taste
- For the Dressing
- Scrape the grated tomatoes into a large glass mixing bowl then stir in the chopped garlic
- Pour in the vinegar, then drizzle in the olive oil a little at a time whisking to incorporate with the tomato mixture
- Sprinkle in the salt and pepper, check seasoning adjust to taste
- Toss dressing with tortellini's one-half hour before serving let salad sit at room temperature to blend flavors
If dressed too far in advance from serving time, the Tortellini will lose some flavor in absorbing as well the bright red color of the red tomatoes.