Pasta Provençal with Basil, Sweet Pepper, Tomatoes and Olives

Provencal Pasta Salad

When the weather is hot and sticky, no one wants to cook. At this time it’s nice to have a few recipes on hand for easy, light, flavorful meals that reflect the season and little heat. Pasta Provençal does just that. It takes advantage of late summer’s bounty of vegetables without being too complicated. While this recipe calls for sweet peppers, tomatoes and basil, feel free to experiment with grilled eggplant, zucchini or yellow squash. The beauty of this recipe is that it is fresh and unfussy, perfect for a warm and sultry summer evening.

Pasta Provençal with Basil, Sweet Pepper, Tomatoes and Olives

Serve with a green salad and cold rosé wine.
Serves 4-6.

1 pound farfalle
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded, ribs removed, cut in matchsticks
2 cups small cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted, halved
1 fresh mozzarella, shredded
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 bunch, about 1/2 cup, fresh basil leaves, shredded

Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain. Pour pasta into a large serving bowl.  Toss with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Add red pepper, tomatoes, olives, mozzarella and garlic. Toss to combine. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Add cheese and basil, and gently toss. Serve warm or at room temperature with extra grated cheese.

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