The secret to making this hearty Basilicatan specialty is to fry the dried peppers to a delicate crisp.
- 1⁄4 lb. country bread, cut into 1" cubes
- 1⁄2 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
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.
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.
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.