As one of the parents bringing lunch for my daughter’s dance company rehearsal, I made this easy vegetarian tortellini salad today. I bought all of the ingredients at Trader Joe’s (TJ). I used their frozen basil cubes because are superior to dried basil when it’s hard to find fresh basil in winter.
3 10-oz packages cheese tortellini
2 14-oz cans artichoke hearts, slice in quarters
1 12-oz jar TJ artichoke heart antipasto
2/3 cup dry toasted pine nuts (pignolias)
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan
red pepper flakes, several shakes to taste
1 lb green beans cut up. Cook with tortellini for 6 minutes
1 6-oz can sliced black olives
2 cubes each frozen minced garlic and basil (if fresh is available, use 2 tsp each, minced)
2 Tb fresh lemon juice (juice of 2 small lemons)
Trim ends and cut up fresh green beans into ½ inch pieces. Cook tortellini according to package directions: boil water, add 1 Tb salt and tortellini. Add green beans after tortellini has cooked for 2 minutes, then cook for 6 more minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
While tortellini is cooking, chop artichoke hearts and mix with pine nuts, olive slices, artichoke antipasto and parmesan in a bowl.
Drain pasta and green beans. Separate 2 cups of hot pasta and green beans and mix with frozen cubes of basil and garlic if using. (You can skip this step if using fresh basil and garlic; just add them in at the end.) Run cold water over the rest of the pasta and beans in a colander until cool. Combine tortellini and add artichoke mixture. Add a sprinkle of red chili pepper flakes and the lemon juice.