In my humble opinion, summer just isn't summer without pasta salad. It rounds out a barbecue, makes a simple lunch, and can become dinner when it's just too hot for a hot meal. That's why it's essential to have it around when you're on vacation and living the easy, breezy summer rental life.
This version is particularly suited for lazy vacations because it takes advantage of flavorful ingredients found at most grocery stores and brings them together in one crowd-pleasing salad. Store-bought cheese tortellini, basil pesto, and roasted red peppers make it easy on the cook and allow it to come together in no time. Meanwhile, halved cherry tomatoes add sweet, juicy freshness; try to track down the best cherry tomatoes you can find.
Make a big bowl of this salad and keep it in your fridge throughout your vacation. Pull it out when you fire up some burgers on the grill, pack some up for lunch when you head to the beach, or simply dig into it for a midday snack after swimming and getting the best kind of tired.
Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad
Serves 8 to 10 as a side
(9-ounce) packages fresh cheese tortellini
cherry tomatoes (about 4 cups), halved
(12-ounce) jar fire-roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (1 heaping cup)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and run briefly under cool water to cool the tortellini down. Drain well.
Place the cooked tortellini, tomatoes, and peppers in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the pesto and toss to combine.
Storage: Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes to take the chill off before serving.