Ziti with Herbs and Mozzzarella

Makes 6 appetizer servings or 4 main-course servings


4 garlic cloves, unpeeled

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves

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1 cup tightly packed flat-leaf parsley

1 cup loosely packed arugula leaves

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Kosher salt

1 pound imported ziti

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper


Wrap the garlic cloves in foil and bake in a toaster oven at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft. Cool.

Peel the cloves and place them in a food processor along with the basil, parsley, and arugula. Adding the oil in a stream through the feed tube, pulse until semicoarse. Transfer to a large bowl.

Cut the mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the cheese, along with the crushed pepper, to the herb mixture and combine.

Bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Add all the ziti at once and stir. Boil briskly, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, until the pasta is al dente.

Drain in a colander, refresh with cold water, and drain well again. Add the ziti to the herb and mozzarella mixture and combine. Season to taste with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.