“This is a pasta sauce based on my favorite pizza toppings since I was a kid: sweet peppers and onions, tomato sauce and hot pickled peppers.”
- 3 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 small sweet peppers, such as cubanelle or mild bell, quartered, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 medium onions, quartered and thinly sliced
- 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup chicken stock or water
- 1 28- to 32-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes or 2 1/2 to 3 pounds garden tomatoes, peeled* and chopped
- 1 cup passata or tomato sauce
- A handful basil leaves, torn for the sauce plus extra to serve
- 1 pound spaghetti
- About 3 tablespoons hot cherry pepper rings, chopped with about 1 tablespoon of the brine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese, or a combination
*To peel the skin off garden tomatoes easily, cut an X in the skin on the bottom of the tomatoes them douse them in boiling water for about 30 seconds to loosen the skins. Cold-shock them in an ice bath and the skins should peel right off.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat with EVOO, 3 turns of the pan. Add the peppers, onions, garlic, oregano, chili flakes, salt and pepper, and sauté to soften (do not brown), about 5 minutes. Add stock or water and let it almost cook away; add tomatoes and passata, and stir in basil. Simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.
Cook pasta in salted water to al dente and reserve a half a mug of starchy water before draining.
While pasta cooks add hot peppers and brine to finish sauce; remove pan from heat.
Drain pasta add back to hot pot. Toss pasta with butter, cheese, the reserved starchy water and half of the sauce.
Serve in shallow bowls topped with more sauce and cheese, and finished with a little more torn basil.