When tomatoes are in season from May to October, making a Caprese salad is a tasty way to let these fruits shine. But while this tomato, mozzarella, and basil dish is delicious, it's not necessarily very filling and tends to work better as an appetizer or light side than the main event. But if you love all the flavors of a Caprese salad but want to turn it into a heartier meal, you only need to add one ingredient: tortellini.
Why tortellini instead of other types of pasta? With only five minutes of boiling time, these noodles cook quickly, so you can keep your Caprese pasta salad a fast, easy dish. Longer types like spaghetti or fettuccine won't work well in pasta salad -- and tortellini's rounded shape makes it an ideal addition that you can easily stab with your fork. Although the beauty of a caprese lies in its simplicity, it doesn't hurt to add a little extra flavor, particularly if it's a complementary one. There are loads of options for fillings in tortellini bags, from cheese to spinach to tomato and basil, which should all pair well with the fresh veggies in this type of salad.
How To Make A Tortellini Caprese Salad
Adding tortellini to your Caprese salad is simple, but it does require changing up the traditional recipe just a bit to make a Caprese pasta salad. You will want to turn your ingredients into bite-sized versions to make a chopped version of Caprese. Instead of heirloom tomato slices, cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half, and in place of mozzarella slices, use mozzarella pearls. If you'd like, add chopped lettuce or spinach to amp up the dish's salad aspect; make sure to toss in plenty of fresh chopped basil.
Once you've cooked and drained your tortellini, run it quickly under cold water so it stops cooking while you get everything else ready. As we mentioned, you can use flavors that pair perfectly with the ones in a Caprese salad -- or you can branch out a little and experiment with fillings like mushroom, sausage, chicken, or prosciutto. Once everything is mixed, top with a dressing that mimics the one in a traditional version. All you'll need is balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper -- or, instead of using plain vinegar, make a balsamic reduction with the vinegar and brown sugar. You'll get all the flavors you love in a Caprese, just in heartier dish that can work as a tasty entrée.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.