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Tortellini Pasta Salad with Basil Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Tomatoes Recipe

Servings: 4

This is a hearty pasta salad with a bright, fresh colors and flavors.

Pesto:

  • 2/3 cup pure olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh ground Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salad:

  • 1 lb. fresh cheese tortellini
  • 1 cup basil pesto
  • 1/4 cup fresh ground parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup small, multi-colored cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 shallot, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup yellow or orange bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/3 cup frozen baby peas
  • 1 cup baby spinach, roughly torn by hand
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 4 oz. firm goat cheese, crumbled

Preparation For Pesto:

  1. Place the pure olive oil and then the remaining ingredients, except the extra virgin olive oil, in the cup of a blender.
  2. Pulse the blender on and off to blend the ingredients.
  3. Once combined, drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil and pulse a few more times.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. The pesto should be smooth but with some small bits still in it.

Preparation For Pasta Salad:

  1. Cook the tortellini in rapidly boiling water until they float to the top and are cooked, but not too soft.
  2. Quickly drain the tortellini in a strainer and rinse with cold water for just a minute or so to stop the cooking.
  3. Shake strainer to drain the pasta well and then place pasta in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Pour the pesto over the tortellini and toss well to combine.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients, except the goat cheese, and mix gently to combine.
  6. Adjust the seasoning as needed and then top with the crumbled goat cheese.
  7. This salad can be served cold or at room temperature.