Tortellini, Feta, and Spinach Salad
I’ve got a salad. It’s a pasta salad. It’s an incredible pasta salad. It’s a cold pasta salad with spinach and feta cheese, and it’s maybe the best cold pasta salad you’ve ever eaten (well maybe next to the cold sesame noodle salad I call “Vicki’s Noodles”, found way back earlier on this blog. In the meantime, this is the easiest salad I’ve ever made–I always make it when someone tells me to “bring a side dish,” and every time I make it, the bowl comes home empty. I made it again on the Fourth of July for a family picnic we hosted (or should I say, my sweet A hosted–it was entirely her idea), and I swear I caught someone licking the bowl. Try this one on if you’re looking for something quick and sensational:
1 bag (8 oz.) baby spinach leaves or 1/2 pound good fresh spinach, stems removed
1 lb. cheese tortellini
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup dark balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (use the good stuff for this recipe)
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1. Prepare the tortellini as directed on the package. Immediately submerse the cooked pasta in ice water and
let it bathe at least a half hour. Drain the tortellini and let it sit in the colander until the pasta is really dry.
2. Wash and rinse the spinach copiously until ALL the sand is gone unless you’ve purchased fresh spinach from
the Stoner’s stand at Central Market. Their spinach is always clean and fresh. (I still wash the spinach
again, but for this recipe, I use a bag of pre-washed baby spinach leaves, and I am thoroughly satisfied.
IMMEDIATELY BEFORE SERVING (I mean this!!!):
3. Place the tortellini and spinach in a very large bowl, add the crumbled feta cheese and toss well to mix.
4. Add the balsamic vinegar and black pepper and toss again to coat the salad.
5. Then add the olive oil and toss again, to coat everything beautifully.
6. Serve immediately, and then stand out of the way. You might get knocked down in the rush.