CLASSIC pasta penne with bacon and peppers
         

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This easy and quick sauce is adapted from Marcella Hazan's Marcella's Italian Kitchen, which I believe is one of her most under-rated cook book treasures. The pasta dishes are worth more than the price of admission by themselves.

This great combination of bacon and red peppers, which she says she adapted from the Venetian bacon-like pancetta affumicata, is a taste delight.

for the sauce:

  • one quarter cup olive oil
  • four tablespoons of butter
  • two good-sized red bell peppers
  • one-half cup onion, chopped
  • one clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • six ounces bacon, sliced and chopped into quarter inch pieces approximate
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • one quarter cup freshly grated pecorino (or parmesan)
  • two tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

for the pasta:

  • one pound of penne or a similar tubular pasta

Cut open the peppers and seed them and get rid of the core. Then slice and chop the peppers into quarter inch squares.

Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and saute the bacon until it is starting to brown but not yet crisp. Remove from skillet and set aside on paper towels. Use a tablespoon of the collected fat as below (optional).

In another saute pan put in the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. (If like us you like the flavor of fat, add that tablespoon of fat from the bacon at this point also).

Add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion starts to turn soft. Add the peppers and cook for 10 minutes until the peppers are soft, but not mushy. Add the bacon and salt and some pepper, stir and saute another minute.

Meanwhile bring 4-5 quarts of water to a boil. Add two tablespoons of salt. Drop in the pasta and stir. Continue cooking until al dente. Save a cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Drain.

Add the pasta to the reheated sauce, and stir. Add the tablespoon of butter and the parmesan and stir. Add from the reserved pasta water as necessary to keep the sauce moist. Cover and turn the heat to high and steam for one minute to get the pasta very hot.

 Put the pasta in warmed serving dishes, top with parsely  and serve immediately.

 


 

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