Tuesday, May 31, 2011

PASTA WITH OLIVES, SALAMI, ARTICHOKES, AND MOZZARELLA


I can't help buying the America's Test Kitchen publications. They're sturdier than a magazine and well worth the price ($8 US, $9 Canadian). The summer issue of 30-Minute Suppers contained several pasta dishes, but this one caught my eye because right there in the name of the dish are foods that I love. I decided to use the recommended pasta, gemelli, because I love the twisted spiral shape. I couldn't find frozen artichoke hearts, but I always used the canned ones anyway. Instead of the 1/2 cup of mixed brine-cured olives that were suggested, I went with Kalamatas.

Serves 4
2 tbs olive oil
3 oz Genoa salami, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced thinly
1/2 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb gemelli pasta
salt and pepper
4 oz smoked mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (be sure to read Taste Notes)
1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add salami and cook, stirring constantly, until salami is browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer salami to paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Add artichokes to fat in pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in olives, garlic, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat, cover, and keep warm.

Meanwhile, add gemelli and 1 tbs salt to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup (they suggested 1/2, but you'll need more) of the cooking water, then drain gemelli and return to the pot. Stir in the artichoke mixture, mozzarella, and parsley, adding reserved cooking water until the consistency seems right. I used the full cup. To serve, sprinkle crisp salami over the top.
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TASTE NOTES
I've eaten smoked mozzarella before, so I went with this suggestion. NEVER AGAIN!!! Not only did it add more saltiness where none was needed (the salami and the olives added plenty), but I just didn't care for the taste or texture. That said, we enjoyed the pasta but liked it even more the next day as a room temperature pasta salad.  If you are watching your sodium intake, this must be a rare treat. Even the artichokes add saltiness to the dish. I will definitely make this again, but I will use fresh mozzarella and may even use regular black olives. While I love brine-cured olives, they are almost too "in your face" in this dish.

10 comments:

  1. Very nice this blog!!
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  2. That's really disappointing - the smoked mozzarella was the thing in the list of ingredients that really popped for me! What a shame it wasn't a good team player. The rest of the dish looks really lovely though, Arlene.

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  3. Oh, I actually love smoked mozzarella...but I'm sure this would be delicious with regular...I love all of the ingredients in here.

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  4. i should really subscribe to that magazine. this looks incredibly good!

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  5. I am not a fan of smoked cheese. I really loathe smoked provolone.. bought it by accident once. Alot of times we have to learn the hard way, I totally agree with you this dish will be perfect without it for sure!

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  6. Arlene - I'm with you on several things. I love the ATK publications and can never refuse one. Secondly, I can't stand smoked cheeses (especially smoked mozzarella). Lastly, so many recipes call for frozen artichokes and I can NEVER find them! So frustrating. I always have to sub canned too. However, I really love the addition of the salami in this recipe, which is something I've been intending to add to my pasta for a LONG time now. I think this looks beyond wonderful and I will be sure to use regular motz when I make this.

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  7. This looks delicious! We had a deconstructed lasagna last night, and now I've got a taste for MORE PASTA!! :-)

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  8. I am a fan of smoked mozzarella but I can see how salty it would have been with the salami and olives. This does look fabulous though--perfect for the lunch box. ;-)

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  9. Arlene, You have one of the TOP, BEST, MOST AWESOME Italian recipe blog going! This pasta dish has it all! Yum!

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  10. Thanks, Roz. There are so many great blogs out there; I'm honored you visit mine.

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