CLASSIC pasta Tagliatelle with zucchini, roasted peppers and tomatoes
         

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Time to get those beautiful fresh red peppers into a pasta sauce. And if you haven't tried a sauce with roasted red peppers you are missing a wonderful taste treat. This is a special from the south, Calabria, with lots of vegetables.

for the sauce:

  • three tablespoons olive oil
  • three red peppers, roasted
  • one small onion, sliced thin
  • three cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • half pound plum tomatoes, chopped (remove the seeds as much as possible)
  • half pound of zucchini, cleaned and diced
  • one-quarter teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • two tablespoons chopped oregano (fresh is best)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • one quarter cup grated pecorino
  • one tablespoon butter

for the pasta:

  • one pound tagliatelle (or spaghetti)

Roast the peppers.  One gets the very best flavor from the peppers if they are roasted over an open flame (the alternative is to seed and peel them and saute them). The easiest way is to put them on a grill over the flame. They can also be put on a long fork or something like that and roasted over an open flame on the stove, like doing marshmallows. First cut the large peppers in half into flat (sort of) pieces and discard the seeds and membrane. Put them on the grill and roast until blackened on one side. Then turn them over and roast until they are charred all over. Do not cook them too long; we want to retain some firmness in the pepper. Remove them, let them cool, and then pull off the charred outer part. Ready.

Cut the flat pieces of the roasted peppers into thin two-inch long strips. Heat the oil on high in a saute pan. Add the onion and cook for at least six minutes, so the onion is soft and starting to brown (barely).. Add the garlic. A minute later add the zucchini, tomatoes, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Two minutes later add the peppers, Add generous teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Stir and continue to cook until the sauce is melding, about four to five minutes.

Bring 4-5 quarts of water of a raging boil. Add a couple teaspoons salt. Put in the pasta, stirring well to get it mixed around in the water. Cook the pasta to al  dente. Reserve a cup of the pasta liquid. Drain.

 Add the pasta to the re-heated sauce. Mix well. Add some of the reserved liquid to keep it moist if needed. Add the tablespoon of butter. Check salt to taste, and pepper, and stir. Cover and turn up the heat for one minute to get steaming hot. And serve spreading the pecorino on top.


 

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