FUSILLI WITH RED AND YELLOW PEPPERS (from Naples, for four)
3 meaty bell peppers, some red, some yellow
16 to 20 fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 pound fusilli or rotini
- Wash the peppers in cold water. Cut them lengthwise along their crevices. Scoop away and discard their seeds and pulpy core. Peel the peppers, using a swivel-blade vegetable peeler, and skimming them with a light sawing motion. Cut the peppers lengthwise into strips about ½ inch broad, then shorten the strips, cutting them in two.
- Rinse the basil leaves in cold running water and gently pat them dry with paper towels, without bruising them. Tear the larger leaves by hand into smaller pieces.
- Choose a saute pan that can subsequently accommodate all the peppers without crowding them. Put in the olive oil and the garlic cloves, and turn on the heat to medium high. Cook and stir the garlic until it becomes colored a light nut brown, then remove it and discard it.
- Put the peppers in the pan, and continue to cook at lively heat for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently. The peppers are done when they are tender, but not mushy. Add an adequate amount of salt, stir, and take off heat. Gently reheat when you are getting ready to toss the pasta.
- Drop the pasta into a pot of abundant boiling salted water. Cook until tender but firm to the bite (about 10 minutes for Barilla. If you are using another brand of dried pasta, follow instructions on box). When you are nearly ready to drain and toss the pasta, melt the butter in a small saucepan at low heat. It should be just runny, not sizzling.
- Toss the cooked drained pasta with the contents of the saute pan, then add the melted butter, the grated Parmesan and the basil and toss thoroughly once more. Serve at once.
adapted from Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking