Rachael Ray’s Unconventional Antipasto Salad Twist

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Imagine the antipasto salad and pasta had a delicious baby. True to her simple style, Rachael Ray draws inspiration from antipasti for an unconventional recipe she calls Pasta all’Antipasti.

In this recipe, Ray uses a base of bitter, stout greens — specifically escarole and radicchio — to ensure the leaves don’t wilt while the “pasta salad” sits. It also seasons greens, sweetening some of their raw bitter flavor and developing a Maillard reaction to bring out sweet and nutty flavors.

To the hot skillet, Ray adds three deli meats – fennel salami, warm sopressata, and thin prosciutto or meaty pancetta – to briefly bring out the nice fats they possess. To balance out all that fat, Ray includes several forms of acid — giardiniera (a savory Italian pickled vegetable), cherry chili rings, and Cerignola green olives — which are added to the hot pan with the meat to release their acidic juices.

Wine and chicken or beef broth are added to the mixture to reduce and simmer to create a flavorful sauce. Cooked pasta is then added to the feast: Ray suggests a short form like strozzopretti, gemelli or penne. For the finishing touch, she adds fresh mozzarella and diced provolone, adds the greens and garnishes with a “big handful” of parsley. This dish hits all flavor and texture profiles: bitter, sour, salty, creamy, cheesy, umami, bouncy and chewy, fresh and grassy. It remains only to try for yourself.

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