farfalle with pepperoni, mozzarella and broccoli
The pool has hit 80 degrees! I know, I know. Most of you are just happy that the snow has finally receded enough to allow a few green shoots to nose their way out of the dirt. Here in South Florida, we are in full-on summer mode. The humidity is back. The sun is brutal. Which means that when we have a barbecue any time between May and October, the required attire is a hat, sunscreen and a bathing suit. Despite the umbrellas and fans, the only sure way of staying cool are frequent and multiple dips in the pool.
The 80-degree mark is crucial. When the water temperature hovers in the 70s or lower, it’s far too cold for long-acclimated Floridians. 80-degrees is the switch. It’s still cool, but “you get used to it” and once you do, it feels great!
In between dips in the pool and gulps of whatever is being iced down in the cooler, we too like to grill. Hot dogs, burgers, seafood, chicken or veggies – we like them all. Scott also enjoys smoking ribs (remind me to tell you that story, later) and other forms of pork. The one thing that all of these tempting mains require is — a side dish. This is one of my favorites.
Farfalle pasta, crisp broccoli florets, crunchy bell peppers and red onions, with creamy cigiliene mozzarella and chunks of spicy, meaty pepperoni. I like a bit of heat and tanginess too, so I add pepperoncini peppers as well as a splash of their juice in the dressing. Cue the angels singing. It’s that good.
As I prepare for the nonstop parade of wet footprints across my floor, I plan to serve this alongside Scott’s grilled masterpieces to our family and friends. Bring it to your next potluck — everyone will want the recipe.
- 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 cups broccoli florets, separated into small (bite-size) pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes, or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup pepperoncini peppers, sliced into rings
- 12 oz package of farfalle/bowtie pasta
- 7 oz stick pepperoni, paper skin removed, diced
- 1 cup ciglienie mozzarella (the little balls) halved, or large fresh mozzarella, diced
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons juice from pepperoncini pepper jar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or roughly chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally about 9-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain water from pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the red onion, broccoli florets, bell pepper, olives, tomato, pepperoncini peppers, mozzarella and pepperoni.
- Toss to combine.
- Make dressing: In a small bowl combine lemon zest and juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, pepperoncini juice, salt and pepper. Whisk until dressing is emulsified. Add pasta to vegetables. Toss to combine.
- Add dressing to salad. Toss to combine.
- Refrigerate salad for several hours for flavors to marry and broccoli to absorb some dressing and soften slightly.
- Just before serving the pasta salad, toss with fresh basil.