Tortellini Salad from Dream Home Cooking Girl. This is a main-dish pasta salad for hot summer nights. Cheese tortellini are tossed with fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, basil leaves, and the sweet cherry tomatoes that are in abundance right now. The recipe called for Caesar dressing (which would also have been great) but I opted for Litehouse Italian (the stuff they keep next to the bagged lettuce in the produce section) because I thought it was more in keeping with the other Italian ingredients. I chose wisely! Not only was it much, much lighter (calorie-wise) than Caesar but the bright notes of the sweet peppers really popped with the salty pepperoni and all that cheese. We had this for dinner with a green salad but it would also be very welcome on a potluck table.
Farro with Honey-Garlic Roasted Tomatoes from Cooking Light. Another great grain salad to add to my growing collection! Cherry tomatoes are tossed in olive oil, garlic, and a little honey, roasted, and paired with chewy, nutty farro, a dash of vinegar, and some nice tangy feta. Don’t be tempted, as I was, to substitute fresh chevre for the feta! Some other ingredient disagrees with fresh goat cheese and makes it taste strongly of mold. Not a problem with cured feta. One change I would recommend from the recipe is to roast the tomatoes longer than specified. It says not to let them brown but I would let them get really shriveled and caramelized because the very short roasting time in the recipe leaves them very mushy and all their extra juice makes the salad gooey instead of fluffy.
And this recommendation came in just last night from my mother, who also has great taste in tasty things: Spaghettini with Checca Sauce from FoodNetwork.com. Scallions, garlic, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and parmesan are blitzed in your food processor with a little olive oil. This mixture (uncooked!) is poured over spaghetti or angel hair along with fresh mozzarella. Your kitchen stays cool. Mom says the sauce packs a flavor punch. Cheese plus uncooked garlic and onions plus sweet cherry tomatoes sounds irresistibly bright and punchy to me. I can’t wait to make this. (Mom also says she thinks it would be great with shrimp. Again, I concur.)