It is the season of outdoor entertaining. Grills are made ready to be fired up. Covers are taken off outdoor furniture. You smile remembering the good times had and ones yet to come. There is something quite special about summer gatherings in the great outdoors. Candles flickering as night falls and conversation is full of laughter. Food and wine is a necessity. Deciding what to make or bring can be difficult or a no-brainer. One dish I highly recommend is Tortellini Salad. Why? Because I’ve seen it be a hit time and time again.
This recipe has a trail of friends. My friend Terry is how I discovered this dish. It was in the spread dishes she made for one of her fabulous gatherings. She goes all out from stunning decorations to incredible food and beverages. I remember the first time I tasted it and thought it was the best pasta salad ever. Of course I asked for the recipe. I also have dropped major hints of her making it for each of her gatherings ever since then. So when Gallo Family Vineyards asked for summertime staples and favorite warm-weather dishes, I knew it was my time to make it and pass along the recipe to keep it moving along the trail of friends.
The trail goes through my neighborhood. Terry got the recipe from a neighbor Jeri who she met through Pam, another dear friend and neighbor. I have not met Jeri and therefore I do not know if this is her creation or if she got it in the trail. Pam makes this salad to take to potlucks and brought it when Terry threw a Farewell Party for Chris and Faye, also friends and neighbors. So you can only imagine how many friends and neighbors (including myself) who have thoroughly enjoyed this pasta salad over the years.
More on the tortellini salad recipe: The one below is adapted from the original. I had questions when I pulled out the recipe and called Terry to discuss. The amount of olive oil seemed too much. It also had mushrooms listed and I know there wasn’t any in the salad she made before. What I learned is this recipe is flexible and can be adjusted to personal taste. The amount of oil, olives, artichoke hearts, and bell pepper can vary. The recipe below is what I used and the method in how I made it (the original recipe only had a list of ingredients and no instructions).
Which wines to pair with the pasta? Two of the Gallo Family Vineyards ones will do nicely. Since you will be at a BBQ or Potluck then you want versatile wines. Plus you may want to cool down in from the summer heat. Their White Zinfandel has light fruit flavors and pairs well with salads of all kinds. Their Sweet Red has soft dark berry flavors and the sweetness matches with grilled meats and balances with the vinegary dressing of the tortellini salad. Check out Gallo’s Backyard BBQ and Potlucks blog post for more tips and inspiration.
More on Gallo Family Vineyards: Follow them on social media to keep up the latest on the company, vineyards, and their wines. Here are quick links to GFV’s profiles: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Their website has lots of information on Gallo Family Vineyards wines plus helpful wine pairing suggestions, and a handy store locator.
Outdoor entertaining does have its challenges. In my area one is pests including mosquitoes and those pesky bugs commonly known as no-see-ums. Citronella candles help to keep them at bay. Several varieties of geraniums help with repelling too. Both add ambiance and work wonderfully as decorations. So get some candles, plant a few flowers, and invite your family and friends over for a feast around your outdoor table. Cheers!
- 1 package refrigerated cheese tortellini 20 ounces
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Greek seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 jar or can marinated quartered artichoke hearts 14-16 ounces, drained
- 1 can black olives 15 ounces, drained
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers
Prepare tortellini according to package instructions.
While tortellini is cooking, make the dressing. Whisk together white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, sugar, Greek seasoning, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Slowly add olive oil while whisking.
Place cooked and drained tortellini in a large bowl. Add artichoke hearts, olives, bell pepper, and capers.
Add about a half to three-quarters of dressing and gently toss salad to combine. Reserve remaining dressing.
Tortellini salad is best served on the day it is made. The pasta will soak up some of the dressing as it sits. Add more dressing if needed.
If made a day in advance, keep refrigerated. Bring to room temperature prior to serving (the olive oil will congeal when it is chilled).
Amounts of artichoke hearts, olives, bell pepper, and capers can be adjusted to your preference.
Are you looking forward to summer entertaining? I am! And so are my fellow Sunday Supper tastemakers. Take a look at these wonderful recipes to pair with Gallo Family Vineyards wines:
- Buffalo Bread by Feed Me, Seymour
- Cilantro Lime Chicken Wings by Casa de Crews
- Creamy Asparagus Puffs by Brunch with Joy
- Bibimbap Bar by kimchi MOM
- Chicken Satay by Curious Cuisiniere
- Citrus Grilled Chicken Under a Brick by Nosh My Way
- Garlicky Sirloin Steak For A Crowd by Family Foodie
- Grilled Chicken Salad Sandwiches by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Grilled Mediterranean Salmon Burgers with Tzatziki by Simply Healthy Family
- Spicy Shrimp Lettuce Wraps by Take A Bite Out of Boca
Sides and Salads:
- Bacon Strawberry and Farro Salad by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Balsamic Blueberry Salad by Alida’s Kitchen
- Caprese Pasta Salad by One Sweet Mess
- Grilled Rainbow Potato Salad by Shockingly Delicious
- Spicy Watermelon Salad by Ruffles & Truffles
- Tortellini Salad by Magnolia Days
- Coconut Shortcakes with Grilled Pineapple by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Frozen Root Beer Float Pie by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Grilled Peaches with Brioche by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- S’more Cookie Cups by Desserts Required
BBQ Helpful Info:
- 5 Tips for Using BBQ Sauce by Sunday Supper Movement
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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.
Serena | Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
Friday 19th of June 2015
Tortellini Pasta Salad is always a favorite in our house! I love all the goodies in yours!
Linda | Brunch with Joy
Wednesday 17th of June 2015
Yummmm! I can't stop thinking of this salad. Tortellini - checked. Salad - checked. Combine the two....AMAZING! Love the combo and all the ingredients, this will be a hit at our next potluck party.
Tuesday 16th of June 2015
This tasty salad is going to be making an appearance at our next BBQ party,...and I can't wait. It looks absolutely incredible!
Lauren @ Sew You Think You Can Cook
Monday 15th of June 2015
Great idea to use tortellini. I wouldn't have thought it'd be okay at room temp but why not!? Extra cheesy goodness in the salad.
Monday 15th of June 2015
I love artichokes in pasta salad! The dressing in this sounds so tasty too. Pasta salad is a weakness of mine, I could definitely see myself eating bowl after bowl of this one.