Fusilli with Peppers, Olives and Vegetables

Fusilli alla Rustica

This zesty, flavorful sauce is a recipe of my mother’s I am particularly fond of and have made minor changes to. It may seem uncharacteristic of Italian cooking to use so many different ingredients but they all balance each other well and the result is perfect harmony.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow or red pepper (or half of each), cored, seeded, peeled and cut into strips ½” wide
  • 3 ounces pancetta, cut ¼” thick
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound fresh roma tomatoes, peeled, and ½-inch diced
  • ½ cup green olives, pitted and sliced in lengthwise strips
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
  • 8-10 leaves fresh basil, shredded
  • 1 pound fusilli lunghi
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons pecorino romano cheese, freshly grated

Method

  1. Peel and thinly slice the onion crosswise.
  2. Put the olive oil and onion in a 12-inch skillet and place over medium heat. Season lightly with salt and cook until the onion turns a rich golden color, 10 to 15 minutes. While the onion is Sautéing, peel and finely chop the garlic and finely chop the parsley. Peel the pepper. Remove the core and seeds and cut into strips ½-inch wide. Unravel the pancetta and cut it into narrow strips.
  3. When the onion is ready, raise the heat to medium high and add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and parsley. Saute for about 30 seconds then add the pancetta. Cook until the pancetta is lightly browned but not crisp.
  4. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, cover, and place over high heat.
  5. Add the pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until almost tender, 5 to 6 minutes. While the pepper is cooking, peel and coarsely chop the tomatoes. When the pepper is almost tender, add the tomatoes, season with salt, and cook until they are no longer watery, another 5 to 6 minutes. While the tomatoes are cooking, slice the olives and chop the herbs. When the tomatoes are ready, stir in the olives, capers, oregano and basil and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, add in the fusilli, and stir well. Cook until al dente. When the pasta is almost ready, reheat the sauce. When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce, the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and the grated pecorino Romano. Serve at once

Also good with:
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