Bucatini with Melted Peppers & Burrata

Many, many years ago, I was fortunate to attend a cooking demonstration by the famous Italian chef, Marcella Hazan. What stood out was the way that she prepared her bell peppers. She instructed us to peel them while they were raw, using a back and forth sawing kind of motion with a vegetable peeler to remove the thin skins. It is a bit of work, but not hard, and is a necessary component to the success of this dish. The peppers cook in the pan slowly, becoming meltingly soft. Simply seasoned with a little garlic and anchovy, and finished with creamy burrata or ricotta cheese, this pasta is sinfully delicious.

Bucatini with Melted Peppers & Burrata

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Many, many years ago, I was fortunate to attend a cooking demonstration by the famous Italian chef, Marcella Hazan. What stood out was the way that she prepared her bell peppers. She instructed us to peel them while they were raw, using a back and forth sawing kind of motion with a vegetable peeler to remove the thin skins. It is a bit of work, but not hard, and is a necessary component to the success of this dish. The peppers cook in the pan slowly, becoming meltingly soft. Simply seasoned with a little garlic and anchovy, and finished with creamy burrata or ricotta cheese, this pasta is sinfully delicious.
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Servings 4

Ingredients
 

  • 3 bell peppers, any color but green
  • 1 anchovy
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 10 ounces bucatini, or other long pasta
  • 2 ounces fresh burrata or ricotta cheese

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta while you prepare the sauce.
  • Peel the bell peppers before cutting them, using a vegetable peeler in a back and forth motion. It’s okay if some of the skin remains in the hard-to-reach areas. Remove the stems from the peppers, then cut in half and remove any remaining seeds or ribs. Cut into ½ long slices and set aside.
  • Mash the anchovy with the side of a large knife on your cutting board, then chop it together with the garlic. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet and scrape the garlic and anchovy in the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for one minute, then add the bell peppers and salt. Adjust the heat to medium low and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Cover the pan and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the peppers are very soft. You will need to check the peppers and stir every once in a while. If they start to get too dry, add a few tablespoons of water.
  • When the peppers are very tender, salt the pasta cooking water, add the pasta and cook until just al dente. Use tongs to remove the pasta from the cooking water and drop directly into the peppers, which should still be over medium-low heat. (If you drain your pasta instead, be sure and save some of the pasta cooking water, about ½ cup).
  • Taste the pasta and sauce for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Add plenty of freshly cracked black pepper and stir, adding enough pasta water to the pot to keep it well moistened and have a nice thick sauce. Cook the pasta like this for 2-3 minutes total.
  • Remove the pasta to a serving bowl, or individual serving plates, and tear the burrata over top, or dollop on the ricotta if using. Serve immediately.
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