I've waxed ecstatic about the culinary things that I left behind in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. It still amazes me that after over five years of being gone from the Lakeshore (Manitowoc is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan), that I still dream in detail about things like Newey's Pad Thai, a sub from Fatzo's or the tortellini salad from Maretti's Deli. Luckily for me, Maretti's is still in existence and they still serve what was my favorite payday lunch - a half sandwich (ham and provolone on crusty white bread with a thick smear of butter) and the tortellini salad. Maretti's was only located a few blocks from the newsroom and typically on payday, someone would volunteer to drive over and pick up lunch. Maretti's had other salads - the mozzarella salad is also pretty notable - but there was something about the tortellini ... maybe it was the amount of garlic that they used and subsequently kept my editors away from me. This salad is magical. And this is my bastardized attempt to try and capture a little bit of that nostalgia.
2 packages of refrigerated tortellini (I use Trader Joe's Spinach and Cheese Tortellinis)
1 c. basil pesto (You can make your own or use prepared pesto)
1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare the tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Add rest of ingredients and mix gently (don't want to damage the tortellini, y'all ...). Chill before serving - four to six hours is ideal and will let the flavors meld even better, but overnight is optimal.
So does this taste like Maretti's salad? It's not an exact replica ... to come close, I think that I would need to add more garlic, but this is a nice approximation and good to bring for potlucks. And to ward away vampires.