When I ran across this bucatini recipe from The Red Cat Cookbook, I knew I’d stumbled onto something special; this was a flavor profile that was anything but ordinary. No sauce accompanies this dish, instead you create a flavored olive oil comprised of garlic and anchovies that essentially dissolve into the oil. Amazingly, this creates a light pasta dish teeming with texture as the garlic-anchovy oil bonds various flavor components to the bucatini. For the warring peppers, I leveled the balance of sweet to spicy peppers by including jarred banana peppers and also played up the Italian flavors by adding red onion and pepperoni. I’d never tried bucatini prior to this dish and was surprised at what a fun and noticeable change it made from spaghetti. On that note, I must admit the thickness of the strands make it difficult to gracefully twirl, so if you’d like to avoid flinging panko onto your shirt, I recommend cutting up that pasta prior to serving.
Bucatini with Sweet and Hot Peppers
Adapted from The Red Cat Cookbook by Jimmy Bradley and Andrew Friedman
1 lb dried bucatini
1⁄2 c. olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
12 canned anchovy fillets, minced
half of red onion, thinly sliced
8 oz hot cherry peppers and/or Italian frying peppers, thinly sliced
4 oz jarred banana pepper rings
2 oz pepperoni, diced
1 heaping c. panko
1⁄4 c. Parmesan, grated, plus extra for topping
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1⁄4 c. parsley, chopped, plus extra for topping
juice of 1 lemon
- Cook bucatini according to package directions in a large pot of salted boiling water. (Be sure to do a taste test as it cooks, often bucatini is still underdone and will need a few extra minutes in the pot). Drain pasta once throughly cooked. When cool to handle, roughly cut up noodles with kitchen shears.
- Meanwhile, in a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and anchovies, stirring and mashing for about 3 minutes until the anchovies have broken down. Stir in the red onion slices and sauté another 3 minutes. Next, stir in all the peppers and pepperoni, and continue sautéing an additional 3 minutes.
- Combine the drained pasta with the pepper mixture and then add the panko, parmesan, pepper flakes, parsley, and lemon juice. Toss mixture until combined.
- Once plated, top pasta portions with sprinkling of extra parmesan and parsley.