4 garlic cloves, 2 minced, for the mushrooms, 2 smashed for the vinaigrette
Olive oil; 1 1/2 Tablespoons for the mushrooms and 2 Tablespoons for the vinaigrette
Red wine vinegar; 1/2 Tablespoon each, for the mushrooms and the vinaigrette
1 pint grape/cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup salami, julienned
1/4 cup banana peppers, sliced, plus 1/2 Tablespoon brine for the mushrooms and 1/2 Tablespoon for the vinaigrette
1/2 cup provolone or mozarella cheese, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Tablespoon fresh basil and parsley, each, finely chopped
Cook pasta according to package instructions, cool and set aside. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water and place in a skillet. Bring to a boil, add broccoli. Cover, reduce heat to med low and cook until broccoli is crisp tender and still a vibrant green, about 5 minutes. Place the broccoli in a bowl to cool.Meanwhile, quarter or halve the mushrooms, depending on the size.
Whisk together 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/2 Tablespoon banana pepper brine and pour into skillet. Add mushrooms and 2 minced garlic cloves, season with salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown. The liquid will all evaporate and soak into the mushrooms, infusing them with SO much flavor. The mushrooms will turn golden brown. I got the idea for this from America’s Test Kitchen. It’s simply brilliant, marinating the mushrooms so that they’re full of flavor and browning them for beautiful color and intensity of more flavor at the same time. Whisk 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 1/2 Tablespoon banana pepper brine and add 2 smashed garlic cloves. Allow to stand for about 15 minutes. Discard the garlic.
Steeping the garlic in the vinaigrette gives it some garlic flavor but you won’t be punched in the face with garlic as you eat your salad.
You can also use your favorite Italian dressing instead of this vinaigrette.
Toss the pasta, broccoli, mushrooms, salami, tomatoes, cheese, peppers and basil with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and ground black pepper. You can eat it right away, but it only gets better the longer it stands, since all the flavors meld together.