Tortellini Salad With Asparagus and Basil Dressing

  • This super-easy pasta salad combines convenient store-bought cheese tortellini, crisp asparagus and a dressing that uses the ingredients in a classic pesto.

    This super-easy pasta salad combines convenient store-bought cheese tortellini, crisp asparagus and a dressing that uses the ingredients in a classic pesto. Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky

 
Posted5/7/2019 3:49 PM

This super-easy pasta salad combines convenient store-bought cheese tortellini, crisp asparagus and a dressing that uses the ingredients in a classic pesto. The salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

 

1 pound asparagus

1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini

¼ cup pine nuts

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed

12 ounces cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, cut in half

½ cup lightly packed fresh basil

1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (½ cup)

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and water. Line a baking sheet with paper towels or lay a clean kitchen towel on the counter.

Trim 1 inch from the ends of the asparagus stalks. If some of the stalks are much thicker than a pencil, use a vegetable peeler to remove the woody exterior from the bottom half of each one. Cut the stalks and spears into 1-inch lengths.

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Add the asparagus to the boiling water; cook until crisp-tender and a more vivid shade of green, about 2 minutes; do not drain the water. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus to the ice-water bath until cooled. Spread the asparagus on the baking sheet or kitchen towel to dry.

Return the pot of water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook, stirring often, until tender, according to the package directions. Drain the tortellini, rinse it with cold water, and drain again, leaving it slightly wet.

While the tortellini are cooking, toast the pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes, shaking the pan to avoid scorching, until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool completely.

Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, shallot, garlic and the ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a serving bowl. Add the cooked tortellini and tomatoes, tossing to incorporate, and let sit for 15 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Chop the basil leaves and add them to the bowl, along with the asparagus, Parm and the toasted pine nuts. Taste, add more salt and pepper as needed, and serve.

Serves 6

Nutrition | Calories: 450; Total Fat: 25 g; Saturated Fat: 6 g; Cholesterol: 35 mg; Sodium: 570 mg; Carbohydrates: 43 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugars: 7 g; Protein: 17 g.

Adapted from "Vegetables Illustrated: An Inspiring Guide With 700+ Kitchen-Tested Recipes" (America's Test Kitchen, 2019).

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