Tortellini and Broccoli Salad

Tortellini and Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Tortellini and Broccoli Salad with Bacon

There’s a certain kind of math that goes on in my head every time I stare into my refrigerator and try to decide what to make for dinner.

It goes something like this:  6 eggs,  1/2 bag of cheese tortellini, part of a head of broccoli, 1 stick of butter, some leftover chicken soup, a block of cream cheese, 4 slices of bacon, and  half a loaf of Italian bread.

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There’s also a strange correlation at work–the less time I have and the hungrier I am, the harder it is to process all this math.  Let’s see, if  I scramble the eggs and mix them with warm garlicy broccoli, and sprinkle toasted bread crumbs over the top, would that work?

Oh, wait–how about if I cook the tortellini, mix it with broccoli, and treat the mixture like macaroni salad with a mayonnaise dressing.   Top if off with a sprinkle of bacon?    Yes, now is there enough mayonnaise?   Do I have a lemon?   And what’s this?—one romaine heart hiding at the back of the crisper drawer!   Perfect, I’ll serve the salad on a bed of romaine.  Whew!  That was a tough one.

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I’m wishing you the same kind of success when this happens to you. 🙂

TORTELLINI AND BROCCOLI SALADIMG_7632

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 0z. refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Romaine lettuce or spring greens mix
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (vegetarians can omit bacon)

Directions:

1.  Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Add broccoli florets in the last 5 minutes of cooking time.   Drain, and rinse with cold water to stop cooking action.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.

2.  In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients, i.e.. mayonnaise through salt.  Pour this over the tortellini and broccoli, and mix well to coat evenly.

3.  On a large platter or serving dish, arrange the salad greens,  Spoon the tortellini salad on top.   Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and serve.

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This salad is good slightly warm or at room temperature, or thoroughly chilled.  Try it on a warm day when you want a quick, cold meal.

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SOURCE:   Another of my own creations!

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Dressed to Impress

During this most recent bout of super-warm weather I’ve been trying to come up with meals that are cool and refreshing to eat, and don’t require the generation of more heat in my kitchen. The end result has been a variety of salad plates that incorporate greens, raw or cooked vegetables, hard-cooked eggs, bits of cooked meats like ham, chicken, or steak and cheeses. More and more often I’m including fruit in my salad plates, and also in my side salads.

The dressing you use on a salad should compliment each of the ingredients, and turn the various parts into a cohesive whole. When fruit is part of the mix, I think the dressing should be a little on the sweet side. I’m not quoting any rules here, that’s just my opinion! So I came up with a salad dressing that I feel is complimentary to any salad that has fruit in it. What started out as a regular oil and vinegar salad dressing, became one that contains a little sugar and a tiny amount of Almond extract. That subtle flavor of almond makes all the difference. Here’s how to make it:

ALMOND VINAIGRETTE DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons MALT vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

In a screw-top jar combine oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and almond extract. Cover and shake well to dissolve the sugar and salt. Chill.

Some of the salad combinations I have used it on include:

1. Mixed greens with red grapes, sliced pears, celery, crumbled feta cheese and walnuts

2. Mixed greens with roasted golden beets, mango, and green onions.

3. Mixed greens with thinly sliced fennel, orange sections and pistachios.

4. Romaine lettuce, roast red beets, orange sections and walnuts.