Friday, January 23, 2015

Pasta Salad with Artichokes Hearts, Fresh Mozzarella and Speck

Super quick, easy and wholesome pasta salad with artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella and savory speck

Happy Friday! The weekend is right around the corner. And I'm ready!! How about you??
The weather forecast for coastal Los Angeles shows a beautiful and sunny Sunday, with a high of 79 degrees. Not bad for winter, right?
So, if you live in Southern California, or any other warm place by the beach, get ready with your biking, sun screen and beach towel. And, as I will, buy all the ingredients to prepare this fresh and healthy pasta salad for a fun family picnic on the sand.
This pasta combines sweet artichoke hearts, delicate fresh mozzarella and savory speck. You should be familiar with speck by now. I posted several recipe using this smoked Italian type of prosciutto, like lasagne with radicchio and speck,and the pappardelle pasta with mushrooms and speck. If you can't find speck at the Italian deli near you, or local grocery store, it's fine to substitute it with prosciutto. Cut it in thin strips and sprinkle on top. Simply delicious.
Enjoy your weekend!

Ingredients: serving 4
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • half onion, chopped
  • 8.5 oz (240 gr) of (frozen) artichoke hearts (I used Trader Joe's)
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 oz (115 gr) of fresh mozzarella
  • 2 oz (55 gr) of thinly sliced speck (or prosciutto)
  • 10.5 oz (300 gr) of medium shell pasta, or other short pasta
  • salt
Preparation time: 25 minutes
1. Bring to a boil a large pot of salted water. Add the pasta when the water boils. If using frozen artichoke hearts, rinse them under running water for about one minute.
2. Saute' the chopped onion in a large skillet with the olive oil, over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts cut in thin slices, with the chopped parsley. Salt to taste, cook until tender, for about 10 minutes or so. Add a couple of tablespoons of water (from the pot where the pasta is cooking) if necessary.

3. Drain the pasta when ready. If you are not eating the pasta right away, but making a pasta salad ahead of time, run the pasta under cold water to stop it from over cooking. Toss the pasta in a large bowl, with the artichokes, the mozzarella cut in small cubes, and the speck cut in small slices. Add one or two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil if necessary.

Buon appetito!

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