'Angry' pasta salad is a happy summer dish. (Alan Richardson)
Pasta never falls out of favor at my house. I have a cabinet dedicated strictly to pasta — all shapes sizes and even colors of what I consider to be the best fast food, ever.
When it’s cold, I make a baked pasta with a heavy ragu or roasted vegetables and my favorite mushroom lasagna. But when summer arrives, the oven stays off and I dress a bowl of noodles simply with fresh vegetables and herbs from my garden as in this “Angry” Sicilian Pasta. There’s nothing really angry nor heavy about this dish, especially in the lifting as I can set a pot of water to boil when I come home, toss in the pasta and chop up the vegetables. That still leaves time for a pre-dinner cocktail or glass of wine on the deck watching the birds enjoy their evening meal and catching up on the day with my husband or neighbor.
The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Michele Scicolone, in her newest book, “The Italian Vegetable Cookbook,” and is called “angry” thanks to the addition of crushed red pepper that fires up the herbs, tomatoes and cheese. Scicolone also provided me with a great tip in which she grates garlic on a Microplane, which is faster and easier than chopping. Freshly chopped spearmint also provides a nice pop of flavor.
So, if you’re rushing home to make dinner tonight, don’t get angry about having to cook, instead choose “angry” and you’re off to a happy weekend.
'Angry' Sicilian Pasta
Recipe from “The Italian Vegetable Cookbook” by Michele Scicolone
2 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ cup shredded fresh basil
¼ cup capers, rinsed and patted dry
¼ cup chopped fresh spearmint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 garlic clove, grated (see story) or minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound bow tie pasta
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
In a large serving bowl, toss together the tomatoes, basil, capers, mint, oregano, garlic, red pepper and olive oil. Season to taste with salt. (The sauce can be made up to 1 hour ahead of time. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir well, and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Scoop out some of the cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta.
Add the pasta to the bowl, with a little of the reserved cooking water if needed, and toss well. Add the cheese and toss again. Serve hot or warm. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 488 calories; 22 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 41 percent calories from fat); 60 g carbohydrates; 4 g sugar; 5 mg cholesterol; 402 mg sodium; 13 g protein; 3 g fiber.