Pasta with Fried Peppers and Bread Crumbs

See the RecipeLandon Nordeman

The secret to making this hearty Basilicatan specialty is to fry the dried peppers to a delicate crisp.

Pasta with Fried Peppers and Bread Crumbs
The secret to making this hearty Basilicatan specialty is to fry the dried peppers to a delicate crisp.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 14 lb. country bread, cut into 1" cubes
  • 12 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 8 dried mild chiles, such as peperoni cruschi di Senise, guajillos, or pasillas, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 anchovies, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. pasta, such as fusilli or strascinati

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 325˚. Bake bread cubes until hard, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor; process into coarse crumbs. Heat 1⁄4 cup oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add crumbs; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8-10 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a bowl. Wipe out skillet; heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add chiles and toast, turning once, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a plate; let cool. Tear chiles into 1" pieces. Reserve oil in skillet.
  2. Set reserved skillet over medium heat and add anchovies; cook, breaking them apart with a wooden spoon, for 1 minute. Add garlic and tomatoes; cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes soften and burst, about 10 minutes. Mash tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1⁄4 cup water. Transfer pasta and water to reserved skillet of tomatoes over high heat. Toss to combine; cook until sauce thickens, 1-2 minutes. Transfer pasta to a platter; sprinkle with bread crumbs and chiles; drizzle with a little oil.