CLASSIC pasta penne peperonata








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Colorful, beautiful and a classic spicy sauce. There are a variety of names -- peperoni is one, that are about the same sauce. Also there are two basic preparations: one, like this, where the peppers are just sauteed. The other, more complex but also an incredible sauce, involves roasting the peppers.

for the sauce:

  • one quarter cup olive oil
  • four cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
  • one large onion, roughly chopped
  • two red bell peppers
  • two yellow bell peppers
  • two orange or green bell peppers
  • one tablespoon dried, or two fresh, oregano
  • one tablespoon sugar
  • three tablespoons tomato pasta
  • one quarter cup chopped basil
  • one sprig rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the pasta:

  • one pound of penne or a similar tubular pasta

Core and seed the peppers and then cut them into 2 1/2 to 3 inch long strips.

Put the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic. After ten seconds add the onion. Add salt and cook for about three minutes, until the onions are just transparent.

Add the peppers and oregano and stir well to combine with the onions. Cook for 4-5 minutes: the peppers should be slightly al dente -- cooked well but a tiny bit of crunch. Add the tomato paste, sugar, rosemary and basil and cook, stirring, for another minute, A few twists of the pepper mill. Taste for salt. Set aside.

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 and add to the reheated pasta, stirring to mix well, adding some of the reserved liquid if necessary to make the sauce moist, covering the pasta well.

Put the pasta in warmed serving dishes, top with a basil leaf or two, and serve immediately.



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