peperonata pasta salad

I will continue to stand by the principle that I only make things I wouldn't mind eating for several days. That will be the case 1000% with this pasta salad. Turns out I didn't need to double it... one batch would have been just fine.

Thankfully, this super easy pasta salad is light enough that you don't mind. Candidly, when I first saw this recipe pop up on Food52 I thought "peperonata" was going to lead me to some sausage or pepperoni. I read the recipe several times trying to figure out what I was missing. Turns out "peperonata" is just a whole ton of peppers... and more of course, but no meat. At all. Which is fine because at a BBQ with burgers and hot dogs, we will be just fine with a meat-less option.

A few notes:

  • Peppers // When you decide to make this yourself, splurge and buy more than one color of pepper. It makes cooking so beautiful. I stopped to take a picture of the skillet it was so pretty. All the peppers contrasting with the red onion? Showstopper.
  • Ratios // I tend to feel like I always want double of whatever the extra part is in a BBQ side option. Extra sauce for the beans. Extra basil for the top. And in this case, it's extra peperonata. I put the original recipe ingredients below, but know that I did probably 2 extra peppers (+ red onion, etc) in my version.
Here's how it goes.
  1. Cut the peppers into skinny matchsticks. Cut the strips in half if they’re long.
  2. In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the peppers, onion, thyme, and salt and pepper, to taste. Saute for about 6 minutes, tossing often, until the peppers and onions soften. 
  3. Add the capers and cook for another minute, then add the vinegar and remove the pan from the heat.Transfer the peperonata to a separate dish or pan. 
  4. Add 1 cup of the halved cherry tomatoes so they can marinate along with the peppers and onions. 
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. 
  6. Drain the pasta and toss with the peperonata in a large bowl. 
  7. Toss in the rest of the cherry tomatoes and the mozzarella. For presentation, I like to add the basil at the end.
Shopping List
3 large sweet peppers
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small red onion (either diced or cut into same shape as peppers)
1 tablespoon minced thyme leaves
Kosher salt plus freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes, divided
1 pound pasta
1 cup basil, torn into small pieces
5 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-sized chunks

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