This is another one of those unusual pasta sauces that I learned from my aunt who lives in Rome. I fantasize about publishing a book with her pasta sauce recipes in them because they are so unique and delicious. You just don't find them in American Italian restaurants.
Oftentimes her sauces only contain one main ingredient, usually a vegetable and usually not tomatoes. This is one example. The red bell peppers are cooked slowly until they take on a stewed consistency. By the time you toss the sauce with the penne they coat the pasta with mellow, melty pepperiness. Think roasted red peppers, but not as assertive, tossed with pasta and lots of luscious cheese. Here's how you do it.
PASTA WITH SLOW-COOKED RED PEPPER SAUCE
- 4-5 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3-4 generous glugs of olive oil
- 1 chicken bouillon cube* (or my preference, an equivalent amount of chicken base)
- 1/2 to 1 cup of water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 box of penne
- pecorino romano cheese
*my aunt's secret weapon
Glug the olive oil into a large (lidded) sauce pan, heat on med-high then add garlic. Cook for about a minute then add bouillon cube and stir until dissolved. Dump in peppers, stir well and let cook for about 10 minutes until peppers are softened. Dump in 1/2 cup of water, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for one hour, stirring occassionally. Add a little water if the pan looks dry. The sauce will have lots of liquid and after an hour will look like this:
Turn off heat, adjust seasonings, keep covered and let sit until pasta is ready to boil.
Cook pasta for 1-2 minutes less than package indicates. It should very al dente. While pasta is cooking, reheat sauce. Drain pasta and toss with sauce and plenty of freshly grated pecorino romano. This sheep's milk cheese is the perfect complement to the sauce. Enjoy!
My girls gave this two thumbs up! Each!