So did everyone have a great weekend? Mine was packed as usual and it rained a lot, but overall it was a pretty good one.
Our close family friends stayed over which always makes our home feel like a giant bed and breakfast, or maybe that’s just what it seems like for me because I’m the one usually doing the breakfast part. It’s a small town that we live in population wise but it’s all kind of spread out around the lake and since they live on the other side it makes the drive take almost an hour when there’s traffic. They are still working on their new home and in the process of moving so, because Friday is the day we always get together anyway, it sometimes make more sense for them not to drive round trip in the same day and the kiddos love spending more time together.
Having a bunch of guys together that long usually creates some kind of project and this weekend it was tree cutting. The backyard is kind of big graveyard of downed trees at the moment. You see, we live up on a hill and have a great view that overlooks the lake from our backyard but it’s been obscured by all these trees since we moved in. Anyway, so the guys cleared the tallest trees that had been blocking the view and it’s so crazy it’s been hidden all this time. We’ve been joking that someone put a lake in the backyard because now we can actually see it. I think the part where they turn the destruction into firewood comes next weekend. Needless to say, I made a lot of food over the weekend because for some unexplained reason seventeen people can eat a little bit of food, go figure.
Summer is going by so fast. It’s been really crowded in town with all the tourists so that part of summer we won’t really miss, but the weather has been beautiful. The days are already getting drastically shorter though, and I’m already feeling sad about it getting cold. I’m making my best effort to enjoy it while we’re at the peak of produce season and I think that will translate into a lot of the recipes over the next few weeks. However, I bet those of you reading this from the North Hem are getting excited for Spring to come your way as soon as possible. Can you believe it’s halfway through February, wow! So you see? This pasta salad is perfect for wherever you’re at.
I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. The other day we were talking about new movies that are coming out soon and I realized how I still refer to May through September as “Summer” even though it’s now Winter for me. It’s hard to think of it any other way though. I’ll probably still be doing it for years when I talk about “Summer movies” Speaking of which, are there any movies that you’re looking forward to seeing this year? Personally, I can’t wait to see the sequels coming out like X-men and Captain America, and the girls and I are dying to see Me Before You. There’s also a lot of interesting remakes this year.
Okay, but more on topic, let’s talk pasta salad. I made it for lunch a few days ago and I made way too much but luckily we had some other friends pop in over the weekend and it was a perfect thing to have ready to serve. Voila, problem solved. I think this is probably the best pasta salad I’ve ever made. Seriously, it got rave reviews even from my shortest critics (and they can be impossible to please sometimes).
One thing I love about it is that you can add all kinds of other things to it if you want, like olives, artichoke hearts, or cubed mozzarell, and bacon is never a disappointing option if you want to go there. In other words, personalize it because it will be your favorite new thing and its so easy. Another awesome thing is that this recipe doubles as a great hot meal for cold weather months. When it got rainy and chilly out over the weekend, I heated some up and it may have even been better than having it cold.
- 1 (16 ounce) package refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 4 ounces sliced salami, quartered
- 4 medium ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 fresh basil leaves, divided
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- sea salt & black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 2/3 cup sweet peas
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 C) and line a baking sheet with foil. Slice the tomatoes into large chunks and spread out on tray. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour or until deep red and shrunken looking. Once done, remove from oven and cool on tray for about 10 miuntes.
- While tomatoes are in oven, cook tortellini according to package directions until al dente. Rinse in icy cold water to stop it from cooking, then drain and place in large bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic, half of fresh basil, thyme, and oregano; set aside.
- Pour the remaining olive oil into a small skillet and place over medium low heat. Add onions, garlic, bell pepper and stir for 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in remaining half of basil, peas, and olive oil/balsamic mixture. Cool for at least 5 minutes before mixing with pasta.
- Now it's time to put it all together. Add your veggie mixture, parmesan, and salami, and salt and pepper to taste, to the bowl with the tortellini and gently toss with salad spoons or a large spatula. Last add your roasted tomatoes and gently fold into pasta to avoid smashing them much. The pasta can be served immediately at room temperature or refrigerate until cold. It is also wonderful served hot.