Warm Pasta Salad and Arugula

I just returned from a trip to the L’Aquila region of Abruzzo, which is located to the east of Rome. While there, we ate pasta served with simple and fresh sauces under the beautiful L’Aquila sunshine. In this dish, I prepared orecchiette, a short pasta shaped like a round disk that is slightly hollow in the middle. You can also use your own favorite short pasta—there are always lots to choose from!
The sauce is simple and light. It’s a nice option to use tomatoes cooked for three minutes and then tossed with arugula. The arugula gives it a peppery taste. It’s a great summer dish, but it can be the perfect dish for anytime of year.
You can also substitute the arugula with spinach. That’s a great way to enjoy pasta served with greens in one dish.
Not only is this a delicious dish, but it also takes just 10 minutes to prepare. How’s that for a quick and tasty lunch or dinner?
Pasta Sauce
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups of cherry tomatoes (1 cup yellow, 1 cup red)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 cup pasta water (reserve)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Heat a large sauté pan over medium and add the oil, garlic, and cherry tomatoes. Add salt and red chili flakes. Cook for about 3 minutes.
Using a large pot, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until it is al dente. Drain and toss in the large sauté pan. Add the reserved pasta water and toss the grated cheese and stir.
Pour the pasta in a large pasta bowl and garnish the arugula on top.
The beautiful plate that I used for the pasta is designed by a good friend in Castelli (the ceramic town) in the region of Abruzzo.

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