Updated 06/20/2012 05:00 AM
Recipe: Cheese Tortellini Salad with Basil Pesto
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8- 10 as a side
approx. 1 pound cheese tortellini
1 15-ounce can artichoke hearts
approx. 1 cup sundried tomato strips (see hints below)
approx. 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
approx. 1/2- 3/4 cup basil pesto
grated parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
While the water for the tortellini is coming to a boil, drain the can of artichoke hearts and cut those into quarters if you need to, and drain about 1 cup of olive oil cured sundried tomatoes and slice those if they need to be sliced and then, to make sure the pitted Kalamata olives really are pitted, slice each one on those in half lengthwise. You're looking for about 1 cup of those as well.
Once the pasta water does come to a boil, add the cheese tortellini and let the water come back up to a boil, adjust the heat and let them cook along for 4 minutes or so. And then drain the pasta through a colander in the sink and run cold water over the tortellini until they're completely cooled down.
Once they are nice and cold you'll want to let them drain for a few minutes and then add them to a large mixing bowl, add as much basil pesto as you like and toss to coat.
Then add the artichoke hearts, olives and sundried tomatoes and toss to combine.
And then keep that in a covered container in the fridge until it's time to eat.
You can sprinkle a little grated parmesan cheese over the top until just before serving.
If you can't find premade basil pesto, make your own in a food processor by combining about 4 cups loosely packed basil leaves with 1 small clove garlic, 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts, 1/4 - 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese and just enough olive oil to give it a thick, but smooth consistency.
Olive oil cured sundried tomatoes are already soft but, if your tomatoes are not in oil, you can reconstitute them in a bit of warm water and then drain before using.