Pasta Belligerence*

This dish that owes it's name to the excessive amounts of pasta eaten by missionaries in the Italy Milan Mission, and was named by Kimball Hobby. It also goes by Pasta Primavera, but is markedly different than another dish with the same name. This is a pasta salad, eaten cold and is comprised mainly of fresh vegetables. It is a perfect dish for either a light lunch or dinner, especially in the spring or summer.

2-3 tomatoes
1-2 bell peppers
1 cup olives - kalamata or large green
8 oz of fresh mozzarella
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 lb penne pasta
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

The above are the basic ingredients, but for those willing to go the extra mile, your taste buds will be rewarded. The extra mile also includes:

8 0z pancetta (if you can't find any pancetta, cubed bacon will do)
8 0z Italian sausage (I prefer hot)
1 can artichoke hearts

This dish is extremely simple. Boil enough water (I couldn't tell you how much water to boil, I always eyeball it, better too much that too little) for the pasta, adding about a tablespoon of salt and olive oil to the water. Dump in the pasta and cook until al dente. When the pasta is done, empty it into a colander and briefly (2-3 minutes) run it under cold water and then place in the fridge. Chop up all of the veggies and cheese and then combine them in a salad bowl. If you are going the extra mile, cook the pancetta and the sausage (I prefer them slightly overcooked and somewhat crunchy, adding a different texture to the salad) strain off the grease, and add the meat to the salad bowl as well. Once the pasta is cold, add the pasta to the rest of the ingredients.

When we serve the pasta, I prefer to let each individual dress it according to taste, with the chopped basil leaves, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. The pasta keeps well in the fridge for a few days, except for the cheese. So if you are planning on keeping it around as left-overs like we often do, plan on keeping the cheese separate from the rest of the dish, so that it doesn't become too mushy. Buon Appetito.

*At it's most belligerent, I made this with roughly 6.5 lbs of pasta, 15 tomatoes, 15 bell peppers, 7.5 lbs of fresh mozzarella, and four pounds each of pancetta and sausage. All for four elders. It was all eaten. Forza Grifoni!

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