Don’t laugh, but there are tortellini on my salad.
Sometimes I suspect the best food combinations have less to do with a considered stroke of genius and more to do with indecision, greed or laziness. Breakfast or lunch? Brunch sounds great! Meat or bread first, or keep playing cards? Hello, sandwich! Croissant, or donut? Behold the cronut! (tastier but much less amusing than its croissant/flapjack hybrid cousin, the crapjack.)
All of this is justification for what I’m sure you’re going to love, even if it does sound a little strange at first: a warm tortellini salad.
I’ve recently come back from Australia and moved into a new flat, which means that the cupboards are crazily, disconcertingly bare. The local Sainsburys is being far less cooperative than my old Tesco (why are the washing gloves not next to the washing up liquid? Why are dried pulses not in the vegetable or rice sections? For the love of God, are there any insoles left in London?), but I will prevail in time, and my cupboards will go back to looking like I’m preparing to sit out a small nuclear disaster.
In the meantime, though, supper is the quickest-of-quick meals: pasta and sauce.
There’s really nothing like coming home in the freezing sleet and gale force winds and diving into a pile of warm, comforting pasta. I suspect that my brief and unsuccessful stint at proper low-carbing had more than a little to do with my ongoing love affair with spaghetti. Pasta is a hug on a plate.
The thing is, pasta doesn’t have the healthiest reputation, and the vitamin content of a jar of sauce is not spectacular. But salads are just so cold and uninspiring at this time of year. What’s a girl to do?
The warm tortellini salad is the best of both worlds: a moderated helping of pasta and all the nutritional goodness of a salad. If you time it right, the pasta will still be warm and the salad crisp, and you’ll feel virtuous and beloved all at the same time.
Warm tortellini salad
Salad of choice – I use baby spinach, plum tomatoes, capsicum and chestnut mushrooms
Good balsamic vinegar
Boil a pot of water whilst you prepare the salad vegetables.
Salt the boiling water and cook the tortellini as directed on the pack. While you’re waiting, place the salad on a plate.
Drain the tortellini and add to the salad. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
It’s almost embarrassing to call this a recipe, but there you have it. I will say that tortellini is very easily overcooked (even when the directions say 3 minutes) and I really dislike soggy pasta, so I tend to knock a minute or so off the cooking time. Enjoy!