This sauce is completely raw and probably not like anything you've ever had on pasta. I first had it when I was visiting my family in Rome. My aunt made a version of it (I hope I am doing it justice) and it blew me away. I had never tasted anything like it and as soon as the explosion of flavors hit my mouth, I knew I had to learn to make it. Thankfully, it's easy. Easy but tastes hard. And sometimes that's what it's all about, right?
I've never seen this on any menu in any Italian restaurant in the States, or even in Italy for that matter. It also doesn't appear in my numerous Italian (as in, written in Italian) cookbooks. I hope you enjoy it.
PENNE WITH RAW TOMATO-PEPPER SAUCE
The key to this sauce is using fresh red peppers and the best extra virgin olive oil you can afford. You really taste the olive oil in a raw sauce. I had an assortment of local peppers and it was fine, but all red peppers is preferable. The raw sauce also makes a great dip. This is like summer in your mouth.
- 4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 3ish red peppers, seeded and chopped
- 2-4 cloves of garlic, whole
- 1/4 red or yellow onion
- handful of fresh Italian parsley leaves
- best-quality olive oil
- a handful of fresh basil, chiffonade
- salt and pepper
- freshly grated pecorino romano cheese (or any local hard sheep's milk cheese)
Place all of the above (except basil, salt, and pepper) in a food processor or blender and whiz until it is smooth. While veggies are whizzing, drizzle in 4-6 tbsps of best-quality fruity olive oil. Scrape into a bowl. Add basil, salt and pepper and set aside. The sauce will have a pinkish-orangish hue and will smell fragrant.
Cook one box of penne for 1-2 minutes less than package indicates or until barely al dente. It should be chewy. Drain and return to hot cooking pot. Spoon sauce over until it is well-sauced. (You may not use all the sauce.) Add cheese, toss and serve. Serves 4 adults. Great cold, too.