I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but it’s sure beginning to feel like Spring around here. I awoke this morning from my slumber to be greeted by something I hadn’t seen in quite a long time– sunshine! Oh glorious sunshine, how I’ve missed you. I was beginning to think we might never meet again, but alas, there you were. Peeking in through my curtains and shining your rays so intensely and bright. Growing up in the South, I pretty much took sunny days for granted because there were so many of them throughout the year and so few cold and rainy ones. Winter would come and go in the blink of an eye with my barely feeling the need to don one of my cute little sweaters. Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, though, cold and rainy is used almost on a daily basis when describing the weather forecast. Definitely not ideal for a little guy from Mexico with very thin skin and a genetic-predisposition for shaking. News flash, it’s not because I’m scared. It’s because I’m f-f-f-f-f-reezing. My wardrobe has gone from being only for show and to increase my cute-factor, to being a total necessity and a matter of life or death. So sorry Papa, but I actually need to wear those clothes, so please stop trying to convince mi mama otherwise.
So back to the beautiful day that I found myself being able to enjoy this morning. I had originally planned to make some sort of soup or warm casserole for mis padres this afternoon for lunch, but given the blue skies and increase in outdoor temperature, I decided to switch it up a bit and save that idea for another rainy day (probably tomorrow, but oh well). Instead, I made a cold pasta salad which I kind of just threw together at the last minute using a bunch of ingredients I already had on hand, and it actually ended up being quite delicioso. Give it a try and you’ll probably agree.
Cold Vegetable Tortellini Salad
1 package Three Cheese Tortellini
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
2 cups baby tomatoes, chopped in half
2 large red bell peppers, stems removed, seeded and cut into quarters*
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste
1) Cook tortellini according to package directions. Add broccoli to water during the last minute of cooking. Rinse with cold water, drain and set aside in a large bowl. Add cherry tomatoes to bowl.
2) Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Place peppers on baking sheet and coat with olive oil cooking spray. Roast in oven until peppers are blackened, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
*You could probably use pre-made roasted bell peppers from a jar too and save yourself some time. I just happened to have fresh bell peppers in my fridge calling out to me to be used for this dressing (yes, my food talks to me sometimes).
3) Place peppers, olive oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, cheese, garlic, basil, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth.
4) Pour dressing over pasta and veggies. Toss to mix well. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Top with more Parmesan just before serving.
So there you have it. Simple, tasty and perfect for a warm, Spring day when you don’t want to crank up the oven or spend hours over a hot stove. Plus it gives you more time to enjoy some of the outdoor activities you love but miss out on when it’s raining.
Like trying to balance yourself on only your front legs….
Grrr, almost there.