Author Notes: This is my adaption of a recipe, "Semolina Spaghetti with Peppers and Mushrooms" from "Country Gourmet Cookbook" by Sherrill and Gil Roth, copyright 1981, Workmen Publishing. (This is a most under-appreciated cookbook.) The original is made with fresh pasta; my variation with dried pasta that is undercooked, and some of the pasta water is added to the vegetables to create a sauce to finish cooking the pasta. —Rebecca Zicarelli
large bell peppers, in rainbow of colors
ounces fresh mushrooms
pound penne or other substantial pasta
teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- Put a large pot of salted-water on to boil for the pasta
- Dice the bacon, and put it in a four-or-five quart pan to brown, remove it to drain on a paper towel when it’s just beginning to crisp
- Wash, quarter, and core, and slice the peppers and wash and slice the mushrooms
- When the water for the pasta is boiling, begin turn the heat to high under the pan with the bacon fat and add the sweet peppers; season them really generously with black pepper, add then add the penne to the salted water; stir both occasionally,
- When the edges of the peppers just begin to brown, add the mushrooms, lower the heat to medium, and stirring occasionally, and continue cooking as the pasta cooks, check the pasta frequently so that you don’t overcook it
- When the pasta should just beginning to be tender, but still crisp in the middle, add 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water to the pepper-mushroom mix, drain the pasta, and add it to the mixture as well
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender. Stir in the cooked bacon and serve with a green salad and parmesan cheese.
- Variations: vegetarian version: replace the bacon with olive oil and garlic; salt the peppers after adding them to the oil, and sprinkling with toasted pine nuts when the pasta has finished cooking. Spinach variation — add 1/2 lb. of fresh baby spinach when adding the mushrooms, thought that makes six ingredients!