This creamy pesto tortellini salad is easy to make and loaded with summer flavor. Fresh and colorful, this tortellini pasta salad can be made ahead of time and is the perfect side dish to serve at summer parties or to take to a potluck.
1cupGrape tomatoesor cherry tomatoes, cut into half
6ozMozzarella pearlsor balls, cut into half
½cupPestofrom the above recipe or use store-bought
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and then add a generous pinch of salt. Add tortellini and cook as per the package instruction or until al dente. Drain the water, toss the pasta in a tablespoon of olive oil and let them cool down.
While the pasta water is coming to a boil, make pesto. To a food processor, add baby spinach, basil, parmesan, walnuts, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Also, add oil.
Cover and run the processor until it is a pesto consistency. You may need to stop and scrape the sides with a spatula and blend again. You’ll need ½ cup of pesto and store the rest for later use.
Take cooked, cooled tortellini, halved grape tomatoes, mozzarella pearls and pesto in a large bowl.
Toss everything together until every nook and cranny of the cheese tortellini is covered with pesto.
Lastly, garnish with toasted pine nuts.
Always add salt once the water comes to a boil. Salted water takes longer to come to a boil.
Cook tortellini until al dente meaning slightly underdone (toothsome bite). The remaining cooking is done while the pasta is cooling down and they become perfectly soft.
Don’t forget to toss the cooked tortellini pasta in some olive oil to prevent them from sticking to each other.
Toasting pine nuts: Dry roast them in a pan on medium-low heat until lightly brown and aromatic. Or toast them in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes on a baking sheet in a single layer.
You can use store-bought pesto instead of homemade pesto.
Add pesto to room temperature or cold pasta to retain pesto’s vibrant green color. Though you can add it to warm tortellini, the pesto will get cooked slightly and result in the loss of that vibrant color. Either way, it tastes good.