Sunday, August 2, 2009

AWARD-WINNING Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad

Early-morning close-up. Yawn.

I can legitimately say this recipe is award-winning. (Just like my apple pie recipe, which I won't share, because a girl has got to have SOME secrets!) On Friday at work we had yet another cut-throat cook-off of epic proportions (and by that, I mean twelve of us suckers cooked something and gathered in the employee kitchen at noon...HIGH noon, that is). The theme was summer BBQ, so I decided to make a Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad, which I've made no less than half a dozen times before. And, you know, I was really dedicated; I even woke up EARLY on Friday morning to cook this baby as I was at a concert Thursday evening (note to Nancy: Fleet Foxes was great, they sounded just as harmonious live, although I think every six-foot-plus dude was in our direct eye line, which is something odd for a 5'10" girl to complain about).

I managed to squeeze out a first place victory in the cook-off, and it was all pretty much on the up and up since I even withdrew my vote for myself (yes, I have very little integrity).

So this recipe is originally from squeaky-voiced Rachel Ray (thanks Rach, because now I'm going to call it my own!). This is why you should make it in lieu of your typical pasta salad: 1) it's prettier, and 2) it's healthier. Enter it into a workplace cook-off; let them know Kathryn sent you!

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad


  • 1 package tortellini (I use chee
  • 1/2 pound fresh baby spinach
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts (any size)
  • 1 red roasted pepper, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, cracked from skin
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dried leaves
  • Black pepper
  • A handful sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, coarsely chopped


Bring water to boil for pasta. Cook according to package (or until tortellini is floating). Drain and scatter the tortellini on a cookie sheet for quick drying.

In this photo, we see the tortellini bathing in early-morning light, waiting for their chance to be apart of this AWARD-WINNING salad.

Coarsely chop baby spinach. Combine with artichoke pieces, roasted red pepper and red onion.

Choppity chop chop.

Chop garlic, then add salt to it and mash it into a paste with the flat of your knife. Transfer garlic paste to a small bowl and lemon juice and vinegar to it. Whisk in oil, thyme and pepper. Add pasta and sun-dried tomatoes to the salad. Dress salad and gently toss. Serve or refrigerate.

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