Salads are one of my all-time favorite ways to eat pasta. Pasta salads are simple but endlessly versatile; you can dress them up with great olive or truffle oil, or leave them rustic. My culinary partner and pastry chef, Gale Gand, brought me several packages of tricolored, striped farfalle from Italy one year. Charmed by its appearance, I immediately went to work to develop a salad that could show it off. I generally serve a single-colored pasta for this amuse, but for the photograph opposite, I used tricolored farfalle. You can use any shade you like or stick with plain farfalle. For this salad, use fruity olive oil, voluptuous pancetta sliced paper thin, and the best aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese you can get. The cheese is shaved over the salad, so be sure to buy it in a hard chunk.
- 1 cup farfalle (bow tie pasta)
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5 ounces pancetta, sliced paper thin
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups mizuna leaves or other tender greens
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente. Drain and immediately submerge in cold water. Drain again. Put into a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Set aside at room temperature to cool.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300°F.
3. Arrange the pancetta slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Cut the slices into large dice and transfer to a small bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate if you don’t plan to use right away.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Add as much of the dressing as needed to coat the farfalle. Toss with the mizuna and pancetta.
6. To serve, center a small mound of the pasta salad on a small plate. Using a vegetable peeler, garnish the salad with shavings of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Garnish with lemon zest. Repeat to make 5 more servings.
Nutritional information includes 1/8 teaspoon of added salt per serving.