This is a terrific recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentiis and is full of great textures and flavors. Although it’s a pasta dish, it’s really like a room temp pasta salad that’s light, tangy, easy to make and makes a great lunch for friends.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp good Dijon mustard
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 pound penne rigate pasta
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
4 cups baby arugula
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
Firstly, toast the pine nuts by arranging them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool completely before using.
For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, crushed garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper until smooth. Set aside.
For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
In a high-sided skillet, whisk the butter over medium heat until melted. Simmer until foamy. Continue to cook until the butter has a nutty aroma and turns a caramel color, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the pasta, dressing, arugula, tomatoes, Parmesan, pine nuts, and capers. Toss until coated, adding the reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time to loosen the sauce, if needed. Transfer to a large bowl and serve.