Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tortellini Salad with Grilled Tomato Vinaigrette

Pretty much every weekend means family time, a smoky grill, and fun foods around here.
Throw in a blue sky and some time in the pool and I'm a seriously happy lady!

I so look forward to cooking for the weekends.  I know I keep saying it...but I love sides.  That's where I have my fun when it comes to feeding people during the summer.  I'm always on the lookout for fun new salads, and the other day I came across an interesting-sounding recipe for Tortellini Salad with Grilled Tomato Vinaigrette and knew I had to give it a try.

Honestly, until I made (and promptly fell in love with) the Broccoli and Tortellini Salad I wrote about last year it had never occurred to me to use tortellini in a pasta salad.  I was definitely missing out, because it's fabulous.  It makes for a heartier salad and you get the benefit of the flavor of the cheesy tortellini filling as well.
No going back.  I find myself searching out tortellini salad recipes now!

Looking at the ingredient list for this particular tortellini salad it's obvious that it's going to taste fantastic- salami, provolone, olives, red onion, fresh herbs...yum, right?

The original recipe calls for broiling the tomatoes before pureeing them and making the vinaigrette, but I wanted to kick things up a notch.  My husband was already going to be lighting the grill to smoke some ribs so I asked him if he wouldn't mind smoking the tomatoes for me before he threw the  ribs went on.  I sliced the tomatoes in half and he threw them on the grill until they had softened and were nice and smokey for me.

Of course you can totally skip that step and throw them under the broiler too!  However if you happen to have a nice smokey grill available to you I'd highly recommend cooking the tomatoes that way.

Anyway, once the tomatoes are cooked they get thrown in the food processor and transformed into a delicious vinaigrette with vinegar and honey.  I upped the honey just a little, but otherwise left everything alone.

This is one of those recipes that would be super easy to adapt to personal preferences or veggies you happen to have on hand in the fridge.  Bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, bocconcini, sautéed mushrooms- whatever you feel like throwing in there should work just fine!

Tortellini Salad with Grilled Tomato Vinaigrette
Modified slightly from Allrecipes.com

1 lb rainbow tortellini pasta, uncooked
3 roma (plum) tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp Dijon-style prepared mustard
1/3 C olive oil
1/3 C vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 C shredded provolone cheese
3 oz hard salami, diced
2/3 C sliced celery
1/4 C sliced black olives
1/2 C red bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp red onion, diced
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente, rinse under cold water and drain.  Preheat oven broiler and place halved tomatoes on a sheet pan 6 inches from the broiler. Broil skin side up until the skin is wrinkled and partially blackened (OR SMOKE THE TOMATOES ON THE GRILL).

2. Place the tomatoes in a food processor and add the tomato paste, garlic, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, mustard and honey. Blend until smooth. With the processor running, add the olive oil and vegetable oil in a thin steady stream. Season with salt and pepper.

3. In a large bowl, combine the tortellini, cheese, salami, celery, olives, bell pepper, onion, parsley, rosemary and lemon juice. Gently toss and drizzle with vinaigrette to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

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