I am a planner. It is hard for me to be spontaneous and do things on the spur-of-the-moment. But yesterday we enjoyed a leisurely and delicious brunch with friends. The conversation and the food were both excellent, and then suddenly the topic of dinner came up. And just like that, we were hosting an impromptu dinner party. And it was fun! The planner in me had a moment of panic, but then I just went with the flow.
Having established plans to have people to dinner, the next thought that popped into my mind was of course what to make. M. is all about the grill these days. I am loving grilled veggies myself, but M. is loving experimenting with different preparations of meat. So he and our friends were browsing the meat counter at a local butcher's shop. Bored, I browsed around the perimeter of the store looking to see what I could entertain myself with while they shopped. Frozen tortellini, marinated fresh mozzarella balls, sundried tomatoes.... an idea for a pasta salad loosely based on a Caprese salad began to take shape.
This salad was delcious. The creamy cheesiness of the pasta compliments the tangy vinaigrette nicely, and the addition of the fresh parsley wakens what would have been an otherwise bland salad. The amounts in the recipe are based on my recollection of what I did. Feel free to adjust them to your tastes (more vinegar, less mustard etc) and enjoy the results.
We sure did.
Caprese Pasta Salad
Serves 6 as a side salad
1 lb frozen (or fresh) tortellini
1/8 pound sundried tomatoes, sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 a head of Italian parsley, washed and chopped
1/2 pound marinated mozzarella balls, quartered (bocconcini)
1/4 cup basalmic vinegar
1 tablespoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
splash of red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Boil water for pasta. Cook pasta according to directions on package. Rinse and drain.
2. Assemble salad ingredients. Add pasta to salad bowl.
3. Mix vinaigrette. Adjust to taste.
4. Add vinaigrette to salad. Mix until dressing is thoroughly incorporated.
5. Chill until ready to serve.