Tortellini Pasta Salad with Pesto Sauce, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella showcases the brilliant flavors of fresh homemade pesto sauce…it’s SO good, you’ll want to use it on everything.
For the Pesto Sauce:
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
- 3–4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for tossing
- Juice and zest of 1 small lemon
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese*
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Pasta Salad:
- 1 pound fresh cheese tortellini
- 8 ounces fresh mini mozzarella balls (pearl sized)
- 1 pint sweet cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
- Sauce: add basil, garlic, and pine nuts in food processor and pulse several times until chopped. Add olive oil and lemon juice with zest. Process until smooth and well blended. Add freshly grated parmesan and pulse a few times just to combine.
- Transfer: use rubber spatula to scrape all of the pesto sauce into a container; season with kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste. Cover airtight and chill until ready to serve.
- Cook: in pot of generously salted water, cook tortellini to al dente according to package instructions. Drain, but do not rinse. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Combine: gently toss tortellini with mozzarella and tomatoes in a serving bowl. Add desired amount of pesto sauce. Save any leftover sauce in airtight container to keep in fridge.
For noticeably better results, grate your own parmesan cheese from a good quality block of cheese.
If your pine nuts are not toasted already, you can toast them quickly in the oven or stovetop: mix pine nuts with a bit of olive oil, single layer on a baking sheet and bake in oven at 350F for about 5 minutes. For stovetop, stir pine nuts with a bit of olive oil in a skillet for about 2 minutes on medium heat. Once lightly browned and aromatic, your pine nuts are perfectly toasted.
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- Category: side, salad
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: American Italian
Keywords: tortellini pasta salad, pasta salad, pesto pasta, pesto tortellini