09 March 2012

antipasto pasta.

I know antipasto means before the meal, but we ate this for the meal. I was inspired by vegetarian antipasto & thought with a little penne, it would make a great, easy dinner. We don't usually eat a lot of pasta, but I thought if I added more vegetables & accouterments, that would fill us up instead. It did.

You can prepare all of this ahead of time or when you want to serve it. It really could be eaten hot, cold or room temperature. There may seem like there is a lot here, but when you read the notes, you will see that the steps are very simple or you could even buy some really good pre-made versions of these antipastos. 

This would be great for a picnic. Yesterday it was like 65 degrees in Maine--what a tease!

antipasto pasta.
This makes enough for four healthy main courses.

4 cups of cooked penne al dente ( rotini, farfalle or cavatappi would work too)
5-6 scallions, sliced
a handful of your favorite olives, pitted
4 basil leaves, torn
extra-virgin olive oil for serving
juice of 1/2 lemon (you will need the other half for the artichokes)
sea salt & cracked pepper

for the marinated mozzarella:
You can buy marinated mozzarella in the deli of most grocery stores if you want to make this meal on the fly.

1 fresh mozzarella ball, torn
3 TBL extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBL olive oil
3-4 basil leaves, finely sliced (lay the leaves on top of each other & roll up, then slice--works like a charm)
1 small chili, finely sliced (deseeded if you want to minimize spice)
a pinch of Maldon sea salt & cracked pepper
--Mix together in a small bowl & let sit. 

for the marinated artichoke hearts:
You can buy these in jars or in the deli of most grocery stores.

1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted (the best ones you can find)
3 TBL extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt & cracked pepper
--Mix together in a small bowl & let sit

roasted red peppers:
You can buy these in jars packed in oil in most grocery stores. This was just more fun & the texture of the pepper was just better for this application. I don't have the luxury of an indoor grill, but the broiler worked great.

1 red pepper, cut length-wise & deseeded
--Turn broiler on high. Place pepper cut side down under the broiler. Cook until the skin starts to look all charred.
--With tongs, flip over & let cook another minute or two.
--Take out & season with a little sea salt & cracked pepper. Slice into desired chunks.

broiled cherry tomatoes & anchovies:
If you want to keep this straight vegetarian omit the anchovies & add 1 TBL of capers. You will still get an amazing flavor with the tomatoes & garlic. I used the broiler because I wanted the tomatoes to also get a charred taste. Don't be scared of the anchovies either because they melt-away into amazing saltly goodness.

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
5-6 best anchovies you can find (the ones I used were rolled with capers, so double awesome)
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 TBL olive oil
sea salt & cracked pepper
--Line a baking sheet with olive oil. Mix all the ingredients together.
--Broil for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

to assemble:
--Place pasta, scallions, olives, mozzarella, artichokes, peppers & tomatoes into a large serving bowl. 
--Add basil & dress with lemon juice & olive oil. Season to taste.

happy eatings & cheers!
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