Yogurt sesame dressed tortellini

20110918-021001.jpg This a unique pasta salad that I discovered over at 101 Cookbooks. The flavor will keep your fork returning to your plate for more and it will have your guests wondering what exactly is in the sauce...your choice whether or not you want to reveal your secret!

One of the great things about this dish is that you can do the prep beforehand, making it an easy weeknight dinner. I made the sauce in the morning and cooked the vegetables and pasta in the early afternoon while Jack was sleeping. If you decide to make it before dinner time, just remember to wait to combine all the components just before serving. I made a few changes to the recipe and we ate every bite. Here is my adaptation of Sesame yogurt dressed tortellini:

Bring a big pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating, make the sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 minced medium clove of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. Stir well to combine, and saute for just 15-30 seconds, or until the spices are toasted and fragrant. Transfer this mixture to a medium mixing bowl and stir in 1/2 cup warm water, 1/2 cup tahini, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, and almost 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

Salt the pot of water generously, and boil a big handful of broccoli florets, a large bunch of a combination of cooking greens, and a big handful of green beans cracked in half. Boil just 30 seconds, and quickly fish out the vegetables with a slotted spoon. Run the vegetables under cold water to stop cooking. Drain well and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

Return the same water to a boil and add about a 1/2 pound of ricotta-stuffed tortellini. Cook until al dente, then drain and run under cold water. Shake off any extra water, then add to the vegetables. Add a big scoop of roasted tomatoes, and toss gently. Next, toss with half of the sauce and sprinkle with a small handful of roughly torn basil and serve. Serve the extra sauce on the side, although we didn't add any extract the table. We used our leftover sauce inside pitas, smothered over tomatoes and falafel.