CHEF ARTURO BALDERAS, TAVOLO PRONTO AND DOS BANDITOS
PREP: 20 minutes
YIELD: Serves 4
The charred Italian long hot peppers (which are sweet rather than spicy) amplify the smoky flavors in the final dish, so try not to skip this step, which only takes a few minutes to complete. The Italian long hot peppers are left whole, so it only takes a few minutes to char them in either a cast iron skillet or the oven.
Arturo’s recipe is very free-style, so it’s easy for dad and the kids to step into the kitchen and throw together a simple pasta dish in about 20 minutes. The recipe below is formatted twice to serve both one and four.
This recipe also lends itself well to experimenting with ingredients, which is a great way to teach kids to cook for themselves and even think economically. So, in a pinch, swap out some of the ingredients for whatever leftovers you are trying to unload. Any ground protein will work well here, and so will red wine, any variety of peppers as well as leftover chopped vegetables.
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 Cloves garlic, chopped
10 ounces Sweet Italian sausage, crumbled
8 Italian long hot peppers, whole
1 cup Dry white wine
8 ounces Linguini
½ cup Grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Thinly sliced basil
Salt, to taste and for the pasta water
Black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add a generous Tablespoon of salt.
Add the linguini to the boiling water and cook until al dente (firm to the bite, approximately 1 minute less than the package instructions). Drain the pasta and save some of the pasta water.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over moderately high heat and add 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add the peppers and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until charred, around 3-4 minutes total. Alternatively, these peppers may be charred by broiling them in the oven (see NOTE below).
Remove the peppers and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. Olive oil and fry the sausage until well browned.
Stir in the garlic and peppers and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Stir in the white wine and cook until the wine evaporates.
Add the pasta and some of the pasta cooking water, stirring until heated through and thoroughly incorporated.
Stir in half of the cheese and toss to blend. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Off heat, stir in the sliced basil and serve with remaining Parmesan.
Notes: Italian long hot peppers are mild, sweet peppers and range in color from green to bright red, depending on their specific stage of ripeness. Pepperoncini and Shishito peppers can also be substituted in this recipe.
To roast Italian long hot peppers in the oven, turn the oven on to the broil setting, brush the peppers with the oil, and roast in the hot oven on a baking sheet until charred on one side (around 4-5 minutes), turn and roast on the other side until charred (around 4-5 minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside.
For a single serving, don’t worry too much about exact measurements. Just boil the desired amount of pasta until al dente, char one or two peppers, sauté about ½ cup (or more!) of sausage, along with around ½ teaspoon garlic, to taste. Add the charred peppers and heat through. Stir in about ¼ cup dry white wine and cook until the wine evaporates. Toss in the linguini and some of the pasta cooking water, stirring until heated through and thoroughly incorporated. Combine some of the Parmesan to blend. Off heat, season with a small handful of sliced basil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with a little more Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.