Amanda Agati created this tasty sophisticated pasta salad just in time for the fourth of July. This pasta is best served room temperature which makes it perfect for an outdoor barbeque and July fourth. Amanda recommends choosing a pasta that will absorb the sauce nicely, such as Cavatappi- which is a thick, curly pasta.
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad Recipe
2 lbs Pasta, preferably Cavatappi
1 large eggplant- chopped in small cubes with skin on
5 large roasted peppers
½ cup Pignoli nuts
2 bunches of arugala, washed, drained and de-stemmed and torn
1 Large Pepperoni Stick
½ lb pitted large Moroccan olives, coarsely chopped
Two small jars of Artichoke hearts, drained
½ tsp of Crushed Hot pepper flakes
8 cloves of garlic- minced
1 Small can of tomato paste
½ lb Ricotta Salata- sliced into cubes
1) Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Boil the pasta until al dente. While the pasta is boiling, place the eggplant on a tray and drizzle generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast eggplant in the oven until lightly roasted. Let eggplant cool to room temperature once roasted.
2) Cover the bottom of a small sauce pan with olive oil. When the oil is hot, place minced garlic and crushed hot pepper flakes in the sauce pan. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of pepper.
3) While the garlic cooks, puree the roasted peppers in a blender and add to the sauce pan when the garlic is lightly browned. Mix can of tomato paste with 3 tablespoons of water to thin out the paste and) add to the sauce pan. Let the sauce cook for about 15 minutes on low heat. Then let cool.
3) When pasta is ready, place in a colander and rise with cold water to prevent further cooking. Let pasta drain.
4) Once the sauce has reached room temperature, mix in slowly to the pasta little by little, just enough so the pasta is lightly coated in the sauce. There should be no excess sauce.
5) Toast pignoli nuts in the oven, on 325 F until lightly brown. Watch the pignoli nuts carefully, as they burn easily.
6) Add pignoli nuts, olives, artichoke hearts, ricotta salata, and eggplant to pasta salad.
7) Slice pepperoni into thin strips about one inch long. Add to pasta salad.
8) Mix pasta salad well. Season to taste with additional salt if necessary.
9) Sprinkle pasta salad with arugala just before serving.