This is a quick and simple weekday pasta dish that came about when I wanted to make Penne with Bell Peppers and Salami, but only had pancetta available. You could also think of this as Penne all’Amatriciana with added bell peppers. This dish turned out to be better balanced than the version with salami, as that is a bit high in acidity. But the most important thing is that you get a lot of flavor for not a lot of work.
For 2 servings
2 red bell peppers
100 grams (4 oz) of pancetta, diced
150-200 grams (1/3-1/2 pound) of penne pasta
1 can (400 grams) peeled tomatoes
1 glass (100 ml) red wine
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
dried chili pepper flakes
Clean the peppers and cut into strips about the size of the penne. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the peppers over high heat for a minute or so.
Season with salt, cover, lower the heat, and braise the peppers for 10 minutes or until tender but still firm to the bite.
Stir the peppers now and then to prevent them from burning. They should become slightly caramelized only.
Add the pancetta, garlic, and chili pepper flakes to taste to the peppers and sauté for a minute or until the garlic and pancetta start to color. Do not let the garlic get brown.
Add the red wine.
Cook, stirring, until most of the wine has evaporated.
Puree the tomatoes in the food processor and add them to the peppers. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and let simmer until the sauce has a nice consistency.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and penne and cook for the time indicated on the package.
When the pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce together with freshly grated parmigiano and parsley.
Toss to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and/or chili pepper flakes.
Serve on warm plates, sprinkled with some more parmigiano.
This pairs well with many dry but fruity young Italian reds such as Chianti Classico, Aglianico from Campania or Basilicata, or Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.