Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pasta Salad

I've decided that I am going to make pasta salad for my contribution to the family Easter lunch. I don't normally like pasta salad, I find it's usually drowned in mayonnaise. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with mayo.... in the right proportions and on the right foods. Call me picky but I don't particularly want it on my pasta salad. Neither do I want a whole bottle of italian dressing dumped on there as well.

I've found about 4 or 5 recipes that I need to choose from all of which are mayo-free. My pasta salad is going to be mayo-free. This works out pretty well since I've been assigned to bring the pasta salad to our pot-luck at work next week. So I can do a trial run of the pasta salad. Cool.

I think I might adapt something from Michael Chiarello's recipe that I found on the Food Network's website.
Tortellini Salad with Fresh Herb and Tomato Vinaigrette

Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello
  • 2 pounds packaged tortellini
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 1/4 cups
  • 4 cups freshly diced tomato
  • 4 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves
  • 4 tablespoons chiffonade basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley leaves
  • 2 minced shallots
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick into approximately 30 slices
  • 4 cups fresh arugula
  • Gray salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the tortellini according to the package instructions. When fully cooked, drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and allow to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in a nonreactive mixing bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, herbs, shallots, lemon juice, and remaining 1 1/4 cups olive oil. Mix to combine and season with gray salt and pepper to combine. When the tortellini have cooled to room temperature toss with the vinaigrette.
To serve, line the perimeter of a large serving platter with overlapping slices of the mozzarella. Spoon the tortellini salad in the center and scatter the arugula leaves over the top.

I did find another recipe that looks pretty good. It's an orzo salad from the Food Network (where else).

Orzo Salad
Recipe courtesy Mary Nolan
Serves: 6 servings


  • 1 cup whole-wheat orzo pasta
  • 3 ears corn, shucked and kernels removed from cob (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley


Bring a pot of generously salted water to a rapid boil. Add the orzo and cook according to package directions, adding the corn in the last minute of cooking, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Set aside.
Pour the lime juice over the avocado and coat evenly (this will minimize discoloration). Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, sugar, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drizzle over the orzo and add the avocado with lime juice, tomatoes, and parsley. Mix until combined and serve warm or at room temperature

Eitherway, I'll post pictures of the one I choose and we'll see how it turns out. For now I have to go find lunch..... and darn it all I want pasta salad!

No comments: