Penne with Roasted Peppers & Vermouth
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- About 8 green onions, white and light green portions, thinly sliced
- 6 bell peppers, preferably a mixture of red, yellow and orange, roasted,
peeled and cut into long, narrow strips (see related tip at left)
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup sweet red vermouth
- 1 lb. dried penne
- 1/4 lb. ricotta salata or feta cheese, grated or finely crumbled
- About 12 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne, plus sprigs for garnish
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Add the pasta to the fry pan and cook briefly over low heat to blend the flavors, adding a few Tbs. of the reserved cooking water to loosen the sauce, if needed. Transfer to a warmed large, shallow bowl. Add 2 heaping Tbs. of the cheese, the julienned basil and a drizzle of olive oil and toss. Taste and adjust the seasonings (you may not need extra salt due to the saltiness of the cheese). Garnish with basil sprigs. Serve hot or at room temperature and pass the remaining cheese at the table. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook, Edited by Chuck Williams (Free Press, 2008).