Warm Fusilli with Tomatoes and Watercress

This summery pasta plays opposites off each other—cool sauce and warm pasta, sweet tomatoes and snappy lemon, hot chile and cool mint. The sauce is delicious when served at room temperature (it can stand for an hour). so resist the urge to refrigerate it.

Slideshow: Fast Weekday Pastas

  • Servings: 6

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  • 1 Italian frying pepper or 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño—halved, seeded and minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds of mixed red and yellow cherry tomatoes, such as pear tomatoes and red currant tomatoes, halved
  • Heaping 1/4 cup Calamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (tightly packed) torn mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon (tightly packed) torn basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fusilli
  • 1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 large bunch watercress, large stems discarded

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large serving bowl, combine the frying pepper, red onion, jalapeño, garlic, lemon juice and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and let stand for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olives, mint, basil and oil.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, then add the fusilli and cook until al dente; drain. Add the fusilli to the sauce along with the Asiago and watercress. Toss the pasta with the sauce and serve.

Suggested Pairing

The tomato sauce gives this pasta dish a tartness best complemented by a bright, zesty red: Sangiovese. Try a California bottling or a Chianti Classico.

Contributed By Photo © Luca Trovato Published August 1999

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