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Mediterranean Pasta Salad

May 23, 2004

1 (8.9-ounce) bag ricotta and spinach tortellini (in the pasta aisle, not frozen foods section of the grocery store)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (plain or flavored)

2 small yellow tomatoes, cut in eighths (or 1 cup halved pear tomatoes)

1/4 cup sliced red pepper (about 1/4-inch wide and 1-inch long)

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh spinach

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1/2 can halved ripe (black) olives

1/2 can artichoke hearts, quartered

1/4 cup toasted pignoli (pine nuts)

Cook and carefully drain tortellini, following package directions. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking process and gently shake off excess water.

In a small mixing bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, spices, garlic and feta cheese. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to meld flavors.

In a large serving bowl, mix tortellini, vegetables, toasted pignoli and olive oil mixture. Stir gently to avoid breaking open the tortellini "purses."

Chill until ready to serve. Makes 6 to 8 side dish servings.

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