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A pasta salad with character

This pasta salad recipe shows a nicely different approach to pasta salad: this one is hot! Of course the desired level of spicy heat can be adjusted by the amount of peperoncini used; but given the relatively low heat level of the peperoncini; most will enjoy this recipe as it is.


(for 6 guests)
1 and half lb. of penne, or any short pasta
1 and a half cups extra-virgin olive oil,
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
6 hard boiled eggs,
12 fresh green chilies, (italian green peperoncini if available) washed, strained, cut in halves lenghtwise, stem and seeds removed and then chopped into small pieces,
10 to 12 anchovy fillets in oil,
1/2 pound of pitted black olives from Gaeta (if available; if not use regular black olives),
1/4 cup of capers, desalted and washed
the juice from two lemons and their zest cut into thin peels,
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard,
salt to cook the pasta,
salt and black pepper, as needed
a bunch of parsley, washed, dried and finely chopped.

Cooking instructions:

Clean first 3 cloves of garlic and finely chop them, then placing them in a bowl, cover with a plate, with all the oil and leave for about 1 hour until the soaking of the garlic in oil has changed the oil's taste; meanwhile, cook the hard boiled six eggs by placing them in a pan filled with cold water, bring the water to a boil, boil the eggs for seven minutes, starting to count time when the water started to boil. Cool the eggs under running cold water, peel and rinse them. Coarsely cut five eggs while we slice the sixth egg into thin quarter inch slices. We will use the thin egg slices to decorate the serving salad bowl.

Pour in a blender the five sliced hard boiled eggs, the anchovies, a tablespoon of mustard, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and pepper and blend at low speed, gradually adding most of the garlic flavored oil to the sauce. Pulse until you get a smooth sauce.

Boil in salted water half the penne pasta, drain and place in a large bowl, season with hot sauce by adding prepared - if it were necessary - still a bit of oil residue and pitted olives, the capers and the washed and prepared the peppers, dried, opened lenghtwise, stem and seeds discarded and cut into small pieces, stir thoroughly, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and thin lemon peels, garnish with egg slices. Reserve in the refrigerator for about 2 hours before serving.

Accompany this pasta salad with a nice white wine from Campania...