No time to cook? Too hot to cook?
There’s a summer solution. Pasta salads. Different
ones, too. A far cry from the expected macaroni salad, as good as that is, Tortellini
Salad is filling enough for an entrée. With cheese-stuffed tortellini,
mixed greens and fresh tomatoes, you have a delicious combination that
requires only the addition of some interesting bread and iced tea or wine.
Your salad dinner is on the table in minutes.
Even more interesting is Rice Noodle Salad with homemade “Asian Peanut Dressing.” If you
enjoy the Asian combination of peanut flavors with entrees, you’ll be
delighted with this dressing topping the exotic rice noodles and baby
spinach leaves. We garnished the salad with tomato quarters that combined
nicely. Or, you can just serve sliced tomatoes on the side — a good
addition however you choose to add them.
A few words of caution. The frozen tortellini should be
al dente (a bit chewy) but not overcooked. Mine could have stood just a bit
longer in the boiling water. While either balsamic salad dressing or Italian
is recommended, I suggest the Italian for a tastier result. We used
watercress, one of my very favorite greens, but it isn’t always available.
Try arugula or the mixed mesclun salad greens otherwise.
For the “Rice Noodle Salad” I mistakenly tried a
shortcut and added the Asian dressing to the salad a good hour before it was
served. A mistake. Add the remainder of the dressing just before serving.
Otherwise, it is absorbed by the noodles. This salad was the favorite of our
guests. The “Chief Tester,” my husband, favored the tortellini.
Fettucine may be used if you can’t find the rice
noodles, but I strongly recommend these for the real Asian influence.
Meanwhile, all you did was boil water! Good for a cool cook and a cool
Directions: Cook noodles according to package directions (about
3 minutes, don’t overcook). Drain. Transfer to a bowl. Add one-third of
the dressing. Cool. Just before serving add remaining ingredients and
dressing. Makes 4 servings. *Asian Peanut Dressing:
In a blender container, combine 1⁄3 cup water, 1⁄2 cup creamy
peanut butter, 1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice, 2 t sugar and 1 to 1 1⁄2 t Asian chili oil or 1⁄4
t Tabasco. Combine well in blender until smooth and moderately thick.