Tortellini Caprese Pasta Salad - The Italian Caprese Salad lends it's flavors to this quick and easy pasta salad made with tortellini pasta.
What a beautiful weekend we had here in MA. I hope wherever you are, you had the sunshine that we did. It was a nice surprise to not be freezing at the soccer field Saturday morning. It was even better to come home and get right back outside in our own yard. I spent the day planting flowers with the kids. They were pretty psyched to find out that I bought them their own flower pots and let them pick out their own flowers to plant. It was fun to see their choices (Nora, of course chose the pink flowers). It's going to be their project and they will be responsible for watering them etc., so we'll see how long those last!
Anyway, with all this outdoor time, I really felt like I wanted a no fuss meal. What better meal to eat outside than some grilled chicken and pasta salad? Pasta salad can be so versatile and can be tailored to your taste preferences. I'm not big on the pasta salads that have meat in them, nor do I enjoy any of the creamy mayo kind of pasta salad. More often than not, when I make a pasta salad, it's as easy as adding a few veggies to pasta and dumping a bottle of Italian dressing on top. But since I had some tortellini in the fridge, I decided to use that instead of my usual bow tie or tri color rotini.
Don't let the idea of a Caprese Pasta Salad fool you into thinking it's difficult. Because it isn't. I had this entire salad prepared in about 15 minutes and that includes the time it took to boil the water and cook the pasta!
I prefer a nice thick balsamic reduction in a dish like this. It's as easy as pouring a cup of balsamic vinegar in a pan, bring it to a boil, then knock it down to a simmer until it reduces by half (about 10 min). If you don't have the time for that or you aren't as picky about your balsamic, you could, technically use a balsamic vinaigrette from a bottle. I'll try not to judge you. I promise. BUT, if you really want to impress, please do try the reduced balsamic.
Okay, so now that we got that balsamic issue out of the way. Here's the rest of the deal. While you're water is coming to a boil for your tortellini, prep everything else (ahem, this is when you can reduce your balsamic). Slice your cherry tomatoes. Slice your cute little mozzarella balls (ciliegine). Cut your basil into ribbons.
Once your tortellini is cooked, strain it and rinse it under cold water. I let it sit in the strainer for a minute or two to get the additional water off. Put the tortellini in a bowl, add in the tomatoes, mozzarella and half of the balsamic reduction and some black pepper and salt, then toss it well to get it all coated and mixed up. I then take the remaining balsamic and drizzle it over the top to make it all pretty like. Or just leave it out if anyone wants to add more.
Ta-da, that's it. While I was getting the pasta salad together, I simply grilled some chicken and it was a perfect match.
Keep this Tortellini Caprese Pasta Salad in mind as you start getting invitations to BBQ's, potlucks and graduation parties over the next month or two. It would be a great addition to any backyard celebration!
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Tortellini Caprese Pasta Salad
- 20 oz Cheese Tortellini refrigerated (I used a mixture of green and regular colored)
- 1 C balsamic vinegar
- 1 C Ciliegine Mozzarella small mozzarella balls
- 1 C cherry tomatoes more or less to your liking
- 2 T freshly sliced basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Allow to sit for a few minutes to remove excess water.
- Meanwhile, place balsamic vinegar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer until reduced by half. Allow to cool a few minutes.
- While pasta is cooking and vinegar is reducing, slice tomatoes and mozzarella in half.
- Place cooled tortellini in a large bowl. Add in mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper and half the balsamic reduction. Toss well to combine and coat.
- Garnish with a few additional ribbons of basil if desired and/or an additional drizzle of balsamic.
- If you have remaining balsamic reduction, serve it alongside the salad for those who like to go heavy on the balsamic (like me!).