|| Char grilling
capsicums & using them in
Spaghetti ai peperoncini verdi (or rosso)
bell peppers/capsicums are cheap, or the garden gives us a glut (I wish)
it's usually at the end of the summer and salads season, so we think
about cooking them. One favourite is to bake or grill (broil to US and
UK cooks) them, then peel and serve them cold with olive oil, pepper and
You can put the peppers in a roasting tray in a hot oven for about 40
minutes, or lay them on foil and put them under a grill, turning often.
The grill gives them a smoky taste that stays when you peel off the
burnt skin. The oven has a milder flavour.
only trick in it all is getting the skins off. You do this easily by
putting the peppers in a plastic bag and letting them cool. The skin
sweats off and peels, almost brushes off.
There are a number of Neopolitan recipes that use roasted peppers,
peeled and simply fried until the texture is creamy, adding hot red
pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Sometimes they're combined with tomatoes
and onions. The following recipe is a bit more complicated but retains
more of the capsicum flavour.
Spaghetti ai peperoncini verdi
From Bugialli on Pasta by Guiliano Bugialli,
published by Cameron House
1½ pounds of small light green Italian 'frying' peppers. (A bit
more if they're larger ones)
3/4 cup of olive oil
I large tin (800g) of Italian canned tomatoes (or about 2 lbs of fresh
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
Salt and ground pepper
5 large basil leaves or the equivalent preserved
I packet of perciatelli, bucatini or thin spaghetti
Soak the peppers in cold water for 30 minutes. Take out stems and seed
if they're large ones.
In a heavy skillet or pan, heat oil to warm and add the drained peppers.
Cover the pan and leave for about 15 minutes, turning the peppers so the
blacken on all sides. They should be cooked but still firm. Take the
peppers out with tongs or a strainer spoon and add the tomatoes and
garlic to the juices in the pan.
Cook the tomatoes for 25 minutes then either blend or put through a fine
strainer in a food mill. Pour the purée back into the pan, put the
peppers back in and put on a medium heat.
Add the basil leaves and salt and pepper
to taste and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti to
the pan and toss for about 1 minute more. Transfer to a warmed platter
Variation: I used some leftover peeled red capsicums and while
they tasted quite different to the green fried peppers, the textures
were still nice, the creamy peppers and the smooth tomato sauce made an