When I hear the word Mediterranean, my mind immediately goes to Christmas morning, year 2008…
My parents love to travel, and growing up, we were fortunate to be included on some of their adventures. They took us to Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Costa Rica, Canada, Mexico… Ok, let’s be honest. We were spoiled children. Well, either spoiled or extremely blessed.
This one particular Christmas in 2008, we opened our presents and thought it was time to move on to mom’s Christmas morning breakfast of German Pancakes and Brown Sugar Bacon…but wait! My parents informed us there was one more present left, one for the whole family to enjoy. We ripped open the wrapping paper to find a calendar for the upcoming year. Quickly flipping through the pages, we stopped on the month of June where we saw writing with an arrow blocking out two weeks…it read “Mediterranean Cruise!” Oh baby, we couldn’t have been more excited…jumping around screaming, running amuck through the shredded wrapping paper and untied ribbons.
All that excitement, all that anticipation…and then…the market dropped. I’m sure most Americans remember that year as a struggle. My dad builds custom homes as a living, and that year, no one was building custom homes. And no one was going on Mediterranean cruises.
I tell this story not because I’m disappointed and sad about not going on that cruise. We all understood. I tell the story because the fact I haven’t explored the Mediterranean yet makes it even more mysterious and intriguing. I’m even more anxious and excited to go explore it. Someday I’ll get to go and enjoy the bright colors, vibrant culture and deliciously fresh food in person.
But for now, I’ll have to make do with creating those fresh flavors in my own kitchen.
So here it is: Mediterranean Tortellini Salad. Simple, fresh and flavorful, just how it should be. For now, I’m eating it in my basement apartment in Salt Lake City. But some day, I’ll be eating it on a sunny porch somewhere in the Mediterranean.
- 1 lbs. frozen or fresh cheese tortellini pasta
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
- 4-5 marinated artichoke hearts
- 1/3 cup kalamata Olives
- 1/3 cup feta Cheese
- Fresh basil for topping
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Zest from one lemon
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Pinch of sugar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cook the tortellini according to package. Drain pasta water and set aside.
- Make the vinaigrette by adding red-wine vinegar, lemon, garlic and sugar to a food processor or blender. Blend until mixed.
- Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the dressing, allowing it to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
- Chop the cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts and olives into bite-size pieces.
- Combine pasta, sun-dried and cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts and olives in a large bowl. Toss with desired amount of dressing and top with fresh basil and feta cheese.