Party in your mouth! These tantalizing Tortellini Caprese Skewers are marinated in a pesto vinaigrette, then drizzled with a little balsamic glaze. So quick and easy to serve at your next party. You can skewer them on toothpicks for the perfect bite-sized appetizer, or you can double them up on a longer skewer depending on your preference.
You may also find that your family scoops them onto their plate before you even get them on a stick. They do make a great side dish as well!
The secret step to incorporating lots of flavor into each bite is to marinate them for 30 minutes before you skewer them. This gives the marinade a chance to soak in and also makes the individual components easier to handle.
So what ingredients go into these Italian-style hors d'oeuvres?
- Fresh Mozzarella Cheese: I used a package of fresh mozzarella pearls, but you could use a hunk of fresh mozzarella and cut it up into bite-size pieces.
- Cheese Tortellini: Fresh or frozen cheese tortellini works great. I began with a frozen package and cooked them al dente and then immediately ran them under icy cold water and then strained them in a colander.
- Cherry Tomatoes: If you are lucky enough to have some home-grown tomatoes from your garden, that would be perfect! Otherwise, grab a package from your grocery store. Fortunately, even store-bought cherry tomatoes are usually a little sweet.
- Pesto Sauce: A jar of prepared pesto sauce makes these a cinch to whip up in the kitchen.
- Balsamic Glaze: This type of glaze is a recent fun discovery for me. Now I get to be fussy without the fuss! You can buy the glaze ready to go at most supermarkets or on Amazon.
- Fresh Basil Leaves: Grab another favorite herb from your garden or from the produce section of your grocery store
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: You'll need a little bit of olive oil to help thin out the pesto sauce.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice gives the vinaigrette the acidity it needs to penetrate into the pasta and cheese.
How To Make Tortellini Caprese Skewers
Prepare the tortellini according to packaged instructions. If using frozen tortellini, be sure to only cook it until al dente. Then run it under cold water to cool it down quickly and drain them in a colandar. (The last thing you want to happen is for the cheese tortellini to fall apart before you get it in your mouth.)
Rinse and pat dry your fresh basil leaves and tear them into small pieces. If your leaves are small to begin with, you may want to use them whole or fold them in half during the assembly.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together ¾ cup of pesto sauce, ¼ cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice and a dash or two of salt, according to your taste.
When the tortellini is cooled add that to the bowl of marinade. Next, add your cherry tomatoes and mini mozzarella balls.
Gently toss the tortellini, cheeseballs and cherry tomatoes to coat them with the pesto vinaigrette. Then spread them into a dish to chill for 30 minutes. Do not incorporate the extra marinade into the dish. You want everything to soak in as much as possible.
To assemble, place a cheese ball, a piece of torn basil leaf, a cherry tomato, and finally a cheese tortellini on a toothpick. If using longer skewers, just repeat a second set of everything. When all of the skewers are assembled and situated on a plate, drizzle them with balsamic glaze before serving.
These versatile appetizers go great with your next barbecue, picnic or really any type of occasion. They look fancy, but they're super easy to make and taste great with most Mediterranean meals.
Tortellini Caprese Skewers
- 8 oz. Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Pearls
- 19 oz. Frozen Cheese Tortellini (You can modify to use fresh tortellini.)
- 1 ½ cup Cherry Tomatoes that would be perfect.
- ¾ cup Pesto Sauce
- 4 tablespoons Balsamic Glaze
- 8-10 Fresh Basil Leaves
- ¼ cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt (to taste)
- Cook tortellini al dente according to package instructions.
- Rinse tortellini immediately under cold water to cool and drain in a colander.
- Rinse and pat dry the fresh basil leaves.
- Meanwhile, make a pesto marinade in a large bowl by whisking together ¾ cup prepared pesto, ¼ cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and up to ¼ a teaspoon of salt (depending on your taste preference).
- Add the cherry tomatoes, cooled tortellini and mini cheese balls to the marinade and toss gently.
- Chill in the marinade for 30 minutes.
- Skewer a cheeseball, torn or folded basil leaf, tomato, and tortellini on a skewer or long toothpick. Add an additional set if using long skewers.
- Drizzle skewered appetizer with balsamic glaze and then serve.