Friggitelli are all over the place at the moment. It is exactly the right time of year for them – the end of summer / beginning of autumn as the days begin to shorten but there is still enough heat and sunlight to not feel like putting your woolies on yet… although in all honesty it suddenly got cold enough that I decided to change my wardrobe the other day, so I reckon that summer is finally over – booooooooooooo!
You probably don’t want to hear me ramble. You probably want to know what friggitelli are and how to cook them. So my apologies… Friggitelli are small peppers that come in green, orange and red depending on the level of maturity. They have a relatively sweet flavour and are very tender when cooked so you don’t have to remove the seeds and fibrous centre the way you do with standard peppers. In fact, one of the easiest ways to cook them is to chuck them in the oven with oil, garlic, salt and fresh black pepper and roast them whole, stems and all. This is the way I usually make them as a matter of fact, but this time I wanted to do things differently so I made pasta with friggitelli instead.
For this recipe you will need (serves 2):
200g short pasta (I used rigatoni)
400g friggitelli or sweet pepper of any kind
20 cherry tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
1 fresh red chilli
2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
a handful of shredded fresh parsley
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Wash the peppers and chop into chunks
2. Heat some oil in a pan and brown the garlic (crushed) with the chilli (chopped).
3. When the oil is hot, add the peppers and cook on a high flame, making sure to shake the pan every now and again to coat the peppers in oil and prevent burning.
4. In the meantime, chop the cherry tomatoes in half and then add to the pan, reducing the flame slightly. Allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes, squashing the tomatoes to get the juice out.
5. In another pan, heat a spoonful of oil then add the breadcrumbs with a generous pinch of salt to toast over a low heat for 2-3 minutes. In the meantime, heat the water for the pasta and begin to cook. Be sure to place a cupful of the starchy pasta cooking water in order to bind the whole recipe together at the end.
6. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and place the peppers over the flame once more. Mix the pasta in and add the pasta cooking water.
7. Allow this to cook for a couple of minutes, then once the sauce has reduced somewhat add the toasted breadrumbs. Stir vigourously, add the parsley, stir some more and serve.
I personally think that this dish doesn’t require cheese, but if you prefer to add it I would suggest the more delicate grano padano or classic parmesan rather than pecorino which is my usual favourite, as the floavour of this dish is strong already.
A glass of nice red wine rounds this dish off nicely.
With love, from Italy