20 September, 2011

Pasta Peperonata

Pasta Peperonata is Italian for pasta with peppers. It's an honest tasty dish featured in Jamie Oliver's "Jamie's Dinners" cookbook that I got for my birthday from my lovely wife this year. It's only my 3rd Jamie cookbook!
I want to cook more seasonal and take advantage of my fathers organic vegetable garden. This year it yielded some amazing sweet red long peppers. So, pasta peperonata it is.


  • short pasta like penne or tortiglioni;
  • 1 and 1/2 or 2 big meaty peppers per person;
  • 1 medium onion;
  • 1 clove garlic;
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil;
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar;
  • Parmesan cheese, grated;
  • optional, Mascarpone cheese or sweet cream;
  • salt, pepper, oregano.


Heat the oil in the pan and add the chopped garlic so as not to burn it. Cut the peppers into 1 or 2 inch bits and  fry them in the pan on low heat for 10 or 15 minutes. Cut the onion julien and add to the pan. Stir constantly and fry on low heat for another 15 to 20 minutes. Both peppers and onions should get tender and very sweet. Condiment with salt and pepper. Add some balsamic vinegar and stir some more. Taste and season again if needed.

Pasta should be starting to boil in the last 10 minutes of this preparation. Feel free to add a ladle of the starchy pasta water to the pan and create a soft sauce. Optionally you can thicken the sauce by adding a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese or 200 ml of cooking cream. Try it without first, as I did. It is more authentic Italian and less sophisticated this way. Closer to the "cucina povera" idea. Also you get to taste the sweetness of the pepper onion sauce better.
Throw the "al dente" pasta into the pan with the peppers and toss around. Let it cook for about 3 to 5 minutes in there. Taste and season. Add the grated parmesan cheese to taste. If the sauce is too thick add some more pasta water.
Serve hot, preferably in heated plates, with extra parmesan and a drizzle of good quality "extra vregine". Mama, che buono!

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