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Rigatoni with Salami, Mozzarella and Arugula

Rigatoni with Salami, Mozzarella and Arugula
True Italian-made salami is not available to everyone outside of Italy, but many domestic versions are excellent, especially if you buy from a shop that makes its own. For a pasta sauce, try the southern-style cacciatorini, soppressata or Genoa-style salami. Many varieties come in a mild or spicy version. Taste a piece to make sure you like its flavor. Salami is best in a pasta sauce when cooked only briefly, so add it in the final minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for
      drizzling
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • About 14 plum tomatoes, cut into medium dice,
      or 1 can (35 oz.) plum tomatoes, well drained
      and coarsely chopped
  • Splash of dry white wine
  • 1 lb. rigatoni
  • 1/4-lb. chunk salami, cut into small cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 bunch arugula, stems removed
  • 1 cup grated pecorino toscano or pecorino
      romano cheese

Directions:

In a large fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until it is very lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, increase the heat to medium and cook until the tomatoes begin to release their juices, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the white wine and let it boil away for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 12 to 14 minutes.

Add the salami to the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Drain the pasta well and put it in a warmed large, shallow bowl. Add the tomato sauce and toss. Add the mozzarella, arugula and a generous drizzle of olive oil and toss gently. Add a handful of the pecorino cheese and toss. Serve immediately. Pass the remaining pecorino cheese at the table.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Pasta, by Erica De Mane (Simon & Schuster, 2001).