Tortellini Summer Salad

Tortellini Summer SaladI know, I know… I kind of fell off the end of the blog world for a bit there. I’ve been in the midst of the worst case of writer’s block I’ve experienced in a long time, but I’m coming out of it, creating new recipes, and am happy to be sharing with you again.

This week’s creation occurred when I realized I had been a bit too enthusiastic in my tomato and avocado purchasing. When those first “Grown in California” produce options roll out, it’s so hard to say, “No.” It’s so easy to get greedy at the start of summer, and suddenly, you have more ripe produce than you can easily consume.

I added to the abundance of tomatoes and avocados with items I had in my pantry and freezer — and counter top. I paired it with a red blend of Italian varietals. The fruit forward flavors of red fruit and leather, along with a nice structure, made it the perfect combination with the sweet, savory, and tangy tastes in the salad. While you may not have access to a bottle of Montoliva Vineyard and Winery’s Sierra Bella, other options would be Montepulciano, Super Tuscan, or even a Primitivo.

Tortellini Summer Salad


Serves 6

2 cups of dried cheese tortellini
4 oz of pancetta, browned and chopped
1 small yellow onion, sliced
juice from one lemon
3 tomatoes
2 avocados
10 oz grilled red peppers (I used frozen and defrosted them by draining the hot pasta over them in a colander.)
balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Boil a pot of water and add tortellini. Cook until pasta is softened, about 14 minutes. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water to remove most of the heat.
While the pasta cooks, warm a pan over medium heat and brown the pancetta. Remove to cool and, using the same pan, saute onion slices. Pour a drizzle of balsamic vinegar over the onions and stir, cooking until the onion has browned. Remove from heat.
Chop tomatoes and cube avocados. Add them to a large bowl and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, another drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and black pepper. Add onions, drained pasta, grilled peppers, and chopped pancetta. Toss together and taste to see if any more olive oil, vinegar, or pepper is needed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for about an hour.
Toss again to redistribute the liquid, and serve.

Avocado Pesto Pasta

avocado pesto pastaToday’s recipe began as a pin on Pinterest. I saw the beginnings of what looked like a pretty tasty – and vegan – meal, only to discover that my pin linked to a different recipe than the image shown. The recipe was not to be found on the blog. Sad face.

Anyone who uses Pinterest on a regular basis knows this is a danger, but dang it, I really wanted that recipe! Since I am who I am, I would not be foiled. I would make my own. And it was successful – and so very, very easy, too!

This concoction was paired with a Sangiovese, just right with the garlic tang and the avocado creaminess of the pasta sauce. The leftovers were a bit homely, as avocado browns quickly, but it was just as delicious as the first night.

Avocado Pesto Pasta

  • Difficulty: super easy
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Serves 4

pinch of salt
1 package whole wheat spaghetti (I used einkorn pasta.)
2 ripe avocados
juice from 1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 head of fresh basil, stems removed
½ teaspoon of salt
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1 package of grape or cherry tomatoes

Set a pot of water over high heat. Add a pinch of salt, and cook spaghetti to package directions. Drain.
While pasta cooks, toss the rest of the ingredients (except tomatoes) in a food processor or high performance blender. Pulse until everything is combined, then run until creamy.
Toss avocado pesto with pasta and tomatoes, and call it dinner.