Fusilli with Tomato, Arugula, and Feta
- Kosher salt to taste, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 1 pound fusilli pasta (corkscrews)
- 1/4 red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 large ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), diced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves (about 2 sprigs)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 red pepper, roasted, peeled, and seeded (see Cook's Note)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 bunches arugula, about 8 ounces, cleaned, stemmed, torn into pieces
- 4 ounces French feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil over high heat, then salt it generously. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally until al dente ?o tender but not mushy. Drain the pasta in a colander in the sink. Rinse with cold water, then shake off excess water.
Meanwhile, put the onions in a small bowl of cold water.
Put the tomatoes in a large bowl and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Chop the oregano with the garlic and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then use the flat side of the knife to mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. Scatter garlic mixture over the tomatoes. Cut the peppers about the same size as the tomatoes, and add to the salad. Drain the onions, pat dry, and add to the tomato mixture. Add the vinegar and olive oil and toss together. Add the drained pasta and toss well. (The salad can be prepared up to this point 2 hours ahead and refrigerated.)
Just before serving mix the arugula leaves into the salad, then add the cheese and toss lightly. Taste the salad and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve.
Cook's Note To Roast Peppers;
A single pepper can be roasted directly on a gas burner. Lay the pepper directly over a high flame and cook turning as needed until the skin blisters and blackens. When the pepper is completely charred transfer it to a medium bowl, cover with a plate or lid. Let cool completely. To peel the pepper, wrap it in a paper towel and rub off the charred skin.
With an electric stove or for more than 1 pepper: Preheat a broiler. Cut the peppers in half through the stem. Remove the seeds. Lay the peppers cut-side down on a roasting pan. Set the pan on the upper most rack from the broiler. Cook until the skin chars, about 5 to 10 minutes. Rotate the pan, as necessary, so the peppers char evenly. Cool covered, then peel.
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