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. Still, no matter what the temperature this Farfalle with Pepperoni, Mozzarella and Broccoli is a winner on every table.
Here in South Florida, we are in full-on summer mode. The humidity is back and the sun is brutal. Which means that when we have a barbecue any time between May and October, the only dress code includes 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 70’s or lower, it’s far too cold for long-acclimated Floridians. To me, 80° is the sweet spot where 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 like to grill. Hot dogs, burgers, seafood, chicken and even veggies! You name it.
Scott also enjoys smoking various hunks of meat! Like ribs (remind me to tell you that story, later) briskets, pork shoulder even fish. A few good side dishes are required for anything hot off the grill and this is one of my favorites. It’s got no mayonnaise, so you don’t have to worry about it going bad and it’s full of really tasty ingredients!
Aside from the bowtie pasta, which everyone loves, it’s also got crisp broccoli florets, crunchy bell peppers and red onions. The standouts in this pasta salad are the creamy bites of mozzarella and chunks of spicy, meaty pepperoni. Winner! I like a bit of heat and tanginess too. For that, pepperoncini peppers (and a splash of their juice in the dressing) add zip and really make this salad sing.
This dish travels well! Bring it to your next potluck, picnic or pool party — everyone will want the recipe.
The quintessential pot-luck pasta salad with everybody's favorite things!
- 1/2 red onion large, thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 cups broccoli floretsbite-size, separated into small pieces
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives halved
- 1 cup tomatoes chopped or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup pepperoncini peppers sliced into rings
- 12 oz package of farfalle pasta cooked
- 7 oz pepperoni paper skin removed, diced
- 1 cup mozzarella 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 black pepper freshly ground
- 1 cup basil leaves fresh, 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.