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Farfalle with Salsa Cruda

Make this dish in the summer when ripe, juicy tomatoes are abundant and you can choose from among many varieties, including heirlooms. At other times of the year, use meaty plum tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup slivered fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lb. smoked or regular mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 Tbs. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 lb. farfalle, penne or other medium-size pasta
  • 2 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced and chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Prepare the sauce
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Stir well and let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in the cheese and let stand for about 10 minutes more.

Toast the pine nuts
Meanwhile, in a small, dry fry pan over medium-high heat, toast the pine nuts, stirring often, until fragrant and pale gold, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Cook the pasta
At the same time, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), according to the package instructions. Drain well and add the pasta to the sauce, along with the prosciutto and pine nuts. Toss to combine and slightly soften the cheese. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve the pasta warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Weeknight, by Melanie Barnard (Oxmoor House, 2006).