These warm days at the beginning of summer make us think fondly of cold dishes, with the cooking portion, if any, done in the cool part of the day. Not only does this save heating up the kitchen during the hottest part of the day, but it also gets part of a meal’s preparation done ahead of time, freeing up time later for other things, maybe a cool drink in the shade. Mojito, anyone?
Salads are a great contribution to these meals. There are so many from which to choose that it is difficult to select just one to offer you today. Perhaps more may come your way when time permits. For now, let’s look at a simple pasta salad, well suited for warm weather. With some fruit, and maybe bruschetta with ciabatta or other good chewy bread, you have the fixings for a hearty meal.
Tortellini, cheese filled
Grape or cherry tomatoes
Black olives, Kalamata or Greek
Pepperoni slices, cut in half
Green onions, sliced
Optional ingredients: bell pepper pieces, roasted red peppers chopped, red onions, almost any vegetable you like; fresh herbs, chopped, especially basil.
Vinaigrette, garlicky, preferred
Cook the tortellini until just tender. Drain. Combine with cherry tomatoes and the rest of the vegetable ingredients, gently, so as not to break up the tortellini. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss gently.
There are no amounts given so as to let you decide what flavors you want to dominate the dish. Your eyes will tell you when there is enough of each for presentation’s sake and your tongue will tell you what else you need to know. Feel like more garlic? Add a minced clove either to the vinaigrette or to the salad itself. Want some fresh herbs? Add some basil. Feel free to make this to your own taste.