Saturday, June 25, 2011

Frugal Recipe: Warm Pasta Salad with Tortellini and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

You know that old adage, when life gives you lemons....? The same applies to cooking frugally. Some days, it comes down to what's left in the frig. So what do you do? Often, my answer to this is a one-dish pasta meal, which I'll call a Warm Pasta Salad. It has four basic components

1. pasta (think penne, spiral, or tortellini),
2. veggies (whatever you've got in the frig usually works!), and a
3. protein component (for example beans, leftover chicken or ham, or cheese all work), and finally some way to "dress" it all. This could be a  
4. sauce/dressing, or something simple like a garlic-infused oil.

Don't forget to add some wonderful herbs, and it all comes together for a delicious and healthy meal. Here's my latest mix. I was hoping for some leftovers, but the boys ate it all up!

Here's the ingredients I used:

  • 1 lb cheese tortellini, cooked according to package directions until just done... don't overcook!
  • 1/2 lb ham, sliced and cut into short strips and warmed (in saute pan or in microwave)
  • 2 cups broccoli, steamed
  • 8oz mushrooms sliced and sauteed
  • 1lb tomatoes, quartered or cherry tomatoes roasted until they collapse
  • 1 head garlic, roasted - push out garlic and smash with a fork
  • 1/3 cup garlic oil*
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned or 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped  or 2 tsp dried parsley
  • black pepper

1. Make the garlic oil. Place 2 cloves of garlic in 1/3-1/2 cup of olive oil. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and just let it sit until you're ready to mix the dish all together.
2. Prepare tortellini, ham, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, basil, and parsley as listed above. as each item is finished, add to a large bowl. It doesn't have to be kept "hot".. this is a "warm" salad.
3. When all items have been added to the bowl, Strain garlic from the garlic oil. Wisk together with smashed garlic with the oil and pour over everything in the bowl. Add black pepper to taste, and mix all together gently.

That's it! It's easy, it's frugal (use ingredients that you have, as I outlined above), so you can make this dish fit YOUR frugal flavor. Enjoy!

This post was entered into Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

1 comment:

  1. That is one of my tricks also: try to use what is left in the refrigerator (even if it is small amounts) and make a great nutritious meal.


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