The other potential name for this dish is “antipasti pasta,” for it tastes like either a glorious combination pizza or a perfectly prepared plate of antipasti at a fine Italian restaurant. Serve with grilled garlic bread for the full effect.
I usually use a general rule of 4 ounces per serving when it comes to pasta, however this dish has an equal amount of meat and pasta totaling 16 full ounces.
8 ounces Rigatoni or Ziti
5 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
20 cherry tomatoes
5 cloves garlic; 3 sliced lengthwise, 2 chopped finely
8 ounces sliced pepperoni, halved into half moons (use turkey pepperoni for less fat)
¼ cup very dry sherry
¼ cup green olives (preferably soaked in a garlic brine), sliced into thirds (if you prefer black olives, use them)
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Parmesan cheese, shaved into 1 inch slices
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil water in a large pot for pasta, add salt and a dash of olive oil and add pasta when water is ready
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small baking dish, toss tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, until their skins begin to split. Remove from oven.
3. In a large pan, place remaining olive oil over medium heat and add the pepperoni. Season with freshly ground black pepper and cook for two minutes while stirring and tossing occasionally
4. Remove pepperoni with a slotted spoon, allowing juices to remain in pan. Set meat aside.
5. To the pan, add sliced and chopped garlic and cook over medium heat for 30 seconds
6. Add the roasted tomatoes and lightly smash each of them with the back of a spoon so each one bursts
7. Add sherry and red pepper flakes to pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes
8. Remove pan from heat and add the olives, parsley and previously cooked pepperoni. Stir together and let rest until pasta is ready.
9. When the pasta is cooked to al dente, reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking water; drain pasta and add to sauce over medium heat; also add the reserved water
10. Toss and cook for 1-2 minutes. Serve in shallow bowls with shaved parmesan on top.