Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Showers (and Salads)

I'm snug in my apartment listening to the first real thunderstorm of the season. The neighbor's daughter must be having a sleepover because every time the thunder booms, I hear a chorus of screaming followed by giggling and loud protestations of having been the scaredy-cat who initiate the screaming.

The hours at the noodle factory have been long lately this being our annual Busy Bee Season, leaving me too drained and uninspired when I get home to do much more than heat up a twice-baked potato (made en masse a few weekends ago and frozen in anticipation of my post-work zombie state). But the weather has been struggling to be summer lately and I've been craving pasta salad. So today, I decided that come hell or high water, I was going to have my salad tonight. Darnit.

The irony is that it seems pretty hellish and high-watery outside right now (queue girly screaming). But I've got my pasta salad!

Summer-at-Last Pasta Salad

1 bag tortellini--any type, cooked, drained and cooled.
1 yellow onion--coarsely chopped and sauteed (Feel free to leave raw--I just don't like raw onion very much and the slightly caramelized sauteed onion here makes a nice compliment to the flavors)
3-5 cloves garlic--coarsely chopped and sauteed with the onion
1 red pepper--chopped

a few stalks of celery--chopped
a handful of fresh basil--coarsely chopped

half a tube of goat cheese (any kind)--crumbled
3 tablespoons dressing
2 teaspoons sea salt

Combine in bowl. Serve over greens (hopefully yours haven't been sitting in your fridge for two weeks waiting patiently for me to cook this meal and are a little less grumpy than mine). Consume with gusto. Nice. And. Simple.

For the tortellini, I used Trader Joe's artichoke tortellini, and for the goat cheese, I used the recently-discovered Trader Joe's low-fat goat cheese. It's really quite edible! It's distinctly goat cheese and best when used in combination with other things--like this salad or pizza. I don't know that it would stand on its own, unless you mixed in some herbs. Mmm...that's an idea. Oh, P.S. in retrospect, a stronger cheese would do better in this salad--a blue cheese or Roquefort or other stinky cheese.

And for t
he dressing, I used Maple Grove Farm's Lime-Basil Vinaigrette--my mom hooked me on this line of dressing. Most of the flavors are fat-free and really quite good. I tend to not like the oily, greasy dressings in typical offering, and the Maple Grove dressings are somehow both light tasting while still coating all the little bits and pieces in your salad. Score!

This Stella Italia Pinot Grigio is destined to become my Summer 2007 Refreshment of Choice. It's light and floral with a very distinct flavor of honey. But not a cloying honey, the whiff of honey you get while spooning it over your strawberries. The finish is apple-crisp and altogether satisfying. It goes well with any course--salad (obviously), fish, a light dessert. And if that weren't enough, it's $6.99 at Trader Joe's. I'm sold.

Thunder moving off. Salad finished. Sleepover moved on to a movie (hopefully not a scary one). Time for little Emma to think about another helping of salad.


Marissa said...

that salad sounds tasty! i've been enjoying tortellini salad lately myself, but i never thought about setting it atop a handful of greens--that's a nice touch (and probably very good for me!). my version usually uses cheese tortellini, and many or all of the following: tomato, yellow pepper, roasted red pepper, artichoke hearts, olives, etc. i always buy a cucumber to dice and throw in, but every time i forget about it.

Angelina said...

I love a good thunderstorm!

The wine sounds like it might be too sweet for me, though an apple-crisp finish sounds good.

Emma C said...

I definitely can't get enough of this tortellini salad! I just made a variation using about two tablespoons of dill and two tablespoons of parsley. The dill is really fantastic!

Angelina, actually what I like best about this wine is that it's not too sweet. It seems like it would e sweet because of the honey and apple flavors,'s not! It's hard to describe! It's not cloying at all, but very fresh and clean-tasting. If you're by a Trader Joe's, it's definitely worth giving this wine a try! I'd be curious to get another person's reaction to it.

Oh, man, has it really been over two weeks since I posted? Where has the time gone?!