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This is the perfect lazy-day summer salad, since you don’t have to use the oven. You could buy the blanched broccoli or cauliflower and prepared pasta salad at the salad bar and never even turn on the stovetop. But this salad would be equally good on any night, summer or winter, when you are pressed for time. Feel free to substitute other meats or cheeses for the ones suggested below.
Makes 6 to 8 Servings
Hands-on-time: 25 minutes
Total preparation time: 25 minutes
1/2 cup packed fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated (about 1/3 cup)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Freshly milled black pepper
1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes, halved crosswise (about 1/2 cup)
2 cups broccoli or cauliflower florets
1/2 pound fusilli or rotini
One 15- to 15 1/2-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
One 6 1/2-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
1/4 pound sliced salami, prosciutto di Parma or soppressata or a mix, cut into bite-size pieces
4 ounces smoked mozzarella, provolone, or Italian fontina, or a mix of these cheeses cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, combine the parsley, oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, vinegar, and mustard in a blender; puree until the dressing is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Ladle 1/2 cup of the boiling water over the tomatoes in a small bowl. Set them aside to soak for 10 minutes or until softened; drain and pat dry.
Add the broccoli to the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Transfer it with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the same water and boil until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss immediately with the dressing, broccoli, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, salami, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly, then stir in the cheese and serve.
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