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Penne Salad with Herbs and Hot Pepper
(recipe, Kelly Myers)
This recipe is adapted from [%bookLink code=0517700794 "The Flavors of Sicily: Stories, Traditions, and Recipes for Warm-Weather Cooking"] by Anna Tasca Lanza, who calls it Insalata di Pasta Arrabbiata. Feel free to substitute another pasta for the penne, just choose a shape — shells, wheels, etc. — that catches the herbs and cheese.
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, julienned
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped off and chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 tsp. ground hot pepper, or to taste (see Note)
- ¼ cup grated pecorino cheese
- 1 lb. penne pasta
- In a small bowl, combine the basil, rosemary, mint, oregano, garlic, and capers. Pour in enough of the olive oil to cover generously. In a large serving bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, hot pepper, and pecorino cheese.
- Cook the penne in boiling salted water until slightly more than al dente but not quite tender. Drain in a colander and dip into salted ice water to chill and stop the cooking. Drain again.
- Transfer the pasta to the large serving bowl and mix well with the tomatoes. Add the herb mixture and toss again. Let stand for at room temperature at least 1 hour, or for up to 4 hours.
- Taste before serving and add additional oil, if necessary, and salt to taste. Serve at room temperature.
You want a pure hot chile flavor. Use Italian ground red chile powder if you can find it. If not, substitute red chile flakes ground in the spice grinder or minced fresh hot red chiles.
Read more in Kelly Myers' Front Burner article on the pleasures of cooking with summer tomatoes.