Cook the Book: Farro Pasta with Spicy Salami Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mint

Cook the Book: Farro Pasta with Spicy Salami Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mint

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

While bacon, pancetta, guanciale, and all sorts of sausage make their way into all sorts of pasta dishes, somehow salami is always left on the antipasto plate. And it's kind of a shame considering salami's incredible ability to add intensely porky flavors to a simple tomato sauce.

This Farro Pasta with Spicy Salami Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mint from Melissa Clark's Cook This Now highlights salami's sauce-boosting qualities by rendering batons of spicy sopressata golden and crisp before adding a simply simmered San Marzano tomato sauce and cooking the two down together to top a brilliant plate of pasta.

Since it's a Melissa Clark recipe, it's infinitely adaptable. Any sort of salami will do and if you're not feeling virtuous you can certainly swap the farro pasta out for wheat or even white. Finishing the pasta with chile flakes and mint lift it up even further with spice and a bit of minty bite. No cheese is called for in the recipe and honestly, it's not really all that necessary but if you'd like to top your pasta with a bit of something, toasted breadcrumbs, shaved Percorino Romano or dollops of fresh ricotta all work beautifully.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Cook This Now to give away this week.

Adapted from Cook This Now by Melissa Clark. Copyright © 2011. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

  • Yield:4
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:40 minutes


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes
  • For the Pasta:
  • 1 pound dry farro or whole wheat pasta of a short thick shape, such as penne
  • 1/2 pound spicy sopressata, casing removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Sicilian pepper or red pepper flakes
  • Chopped fresh mint, for garnish


  1. 1.

    To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a small pinch of black pepper. Cook, covered, until the vegetables are very soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and their liquid. Continue to simmer until the sauce thickens and the oil separates and rises to the surface of the sauce, about 25 minutes. Run the sauce through a food mill fitted with the large disc; season with additional salt and pepper.

  2. 2.

    To make the pasta, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until very al dente (remove it about 2 minutes before al dente). Drain the pasta well.

  3. 3.

    Cut the sopressata into batons about 2 inches long and 1/4 inch thick.

  4. 4.

    In a large, straight-sided skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sopressata and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is light golden and has rendered some of its fat. Pour in the tomato sauce and Sicilian pepper or red pepper flakes. Cook over high heat until the sauce looks dry and turns golden around the edges, about 8 minutes.

  5. 5.

    Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup water. Add the pasta. Return the skillet to the heat and cook, tossing occasionally, until the sauce reduces and tightens around the pasta, 2 to 3 minutes.

  6. 6.

    Divide the pasta among individual serving plates. Drizzle each plate with olive oil, sprinkle with mint, and serve.