Thursday, 3 October 2013

Pasta with Olives Salami

Pasta with Olives Salami and Mozzarella
Pasta with Olives Salami and Mozzarella
Pasta with olives, salami, and smoked mozzarella 
Why this recipe works: Deli salami makes for a tasty, if unexpected, addition to pasta. Its slightly coarse texture and boldly seasoned flavor work great in concert with slippery, al dente pasta. We chose gemelli for our pasta, mainly because the twister spiral shape brings a unique visual element to the dish; feel free to substitute an equal amount of whatever variety of short pasta you happen to have on hand. Cooking the salami in olive oil before adding the other ingredients to the skillet allows the meatiness of the salami to permeate every element of the dish. Adding the mozzarella right before serving prevents the cheese from melting too much and becoming unpleasantly stringy.

Pasta with olives, salami, and smoked mozzarella
Ingredients: serve 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces sliced deli salami, cut into ½ inch strips
1 (9 ounce) box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and sliced thin
½ cup mixed brine cured olives, pitted and halved
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound gemelli salt and pepper
4 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Heat oil in 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Meanwhile, add gemilli and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water, drain gemelli, and return gemelli to pot. Stir in artichoke mixture, mozzarella, and parsley, adding reserved cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle crisp salami over gemelli. Serve.

Smart shopping olives
Jarred olives come in three basic types at the supermarket: brine cured green, brine cured black, and salt cured black. Curing is the process that removes the bitter compound oleuropien from olives to make them suitable for consumption. Brine cured olives are soaked in a salt solution; salt cured olives are packed in salt and left to sit until nearly all their liquid has been extracted before being covered in oil to replump. Both processes traditionally take weeks or even months. For canned California olives, on the other hand, producers use lye, which “ripens” the olives artificially in a matter of days, then further process the olives to turn their green flesh black.

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