Easy, Summer Tortellini Salad
A few summers ago, my dad made a light tortellini-based salad. He used fresh veggies and summer ingredients.
But, he forgot what he put into that dish, so I decided to make an Italian version of my own.
First, the history of Tortellini
Tortellini are considered "navel-shaped" pasta filled with pork, prosciutto, or cheese. They are usually served in a broth (though also in cream or tomato sauces).
According to my research, the first tortellini recipe dates back to 1570. While it's not clear, tortellini is said to originate from Bologna or Modena in Italy's Emilia-Romagna region.
Pasta Variations Similar to Tortellini
Did you know there are tortelloni and tortelli?
The regions for these pasta varieties differ and includes differences in their size, filling, and presentation. As I read, tortelloni is a larger version of tortellini. They are usually filled with vegetable or cheese fillings (instead of meat).
Tortelli is a pasta variety from the Tuscany region of Italy. It has many shapes and is usually meat-filled and served in a broth (like dumplings).
My Cooking Perspective
Summer is a great time of year for foodies. Not only do you have weekly markets to visit, but you can grow your own produce.
My dad and I have a yearly tradition of building a garden. My dad learned about gardening from his father, my Grandpa Cook. My grandpa grew corn, potatoes, garlic and more. We've always been a family of foodies.
Every year, my dad and I plant Italian herbs, cucumbers, squash, watermelons, pumpkins, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and more. Depending on the harvest, we'll switch plants for next year, and re-arrange the garden.
This easy, summer recipe is a little early (since my garden doesn't have tomatoes yet). But I was so excited to start sharing summer recipes with you all, that I decided to buy most of the produce and jump in.
If you're a hardcore home-cook...
You could probably make your own tortellini and mozzarella from scratch, and wait for your home-grown tomatoes. Sometimes buying the ingredients at the store is just as delicious. That's why this recipe is so easy!
In the future, I plan to make all of the ingredients from scratch. But for this recipe, pop into your local market or grocery and you'll do fine!
My Take on an Easy, Summer Tortellini Salad
As an Italian, I tend to go with classic pairings and then add even more.
Below, you will find a static version of the recipe I make in my video. I encourage you to watch the video to learn all of the specific cooking instructions. But, if you cook without a recipe card (like I do), this will be enough to get you started:
You can see from my recipe that I use Italian ingredients and seasonings. Feel free to add more and tweak as you see fit.
I personally chopped a little bit of every ingredient and looked at the ratio of each ingredient to the tortellini as I mixed everything together. I was keeping an eye on the salt-content, especially since I salted the pasta water.
As I've said before, I'm a home-cook. I use tools and techniques that feel most natural to me (and may not always be correct). This recipe is from my imagination and influenced by the tortellini salad my dad made.
Feel free to comment with your thoughts if you think of any additions. Creating a recipe is trial-by-error, and adding more or less of an ingredient. Feel free to use my version as a starting point for your own version.
K. Martinelli's Easy, Summer Tortellini Salad
I was happy with the final salad. It was cold and fresh. The tortellini was perfect, not mushy or crunchy. The ricotta filling paired well with the texture of the mozzarella balls.
The fresh basil was from my garden. I loved its brightness with the sweet tomatoes. The roasted red peppers, olives, and artichoke hearts are subtle flavors which contribute to the overall texture and taste. The Italian dressing was light and added some extra seasoning.
I topped my personal portion with more fresh basil, generous amounts of black pepper, and grated cheese. Next time, I think I will add other fresh herbs (like parsley) to give it even more flavor.
Here it is! The K. Martinelli Easy Summer Tortellini Salad
Thanks for watching!
I hope you enjoyed this Italian-inspired recipe.
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Let me know if you have a go-to summer salad recipe. Or if you've made a tortellini salad before!