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.

Pasta with Fried Peppers and Bread Crumbs 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.