Trofie pasta with dried peppers
You won’t get far in Basilicata without stumbling upon a place of peperoni cruschi like this preparation of trofie pasta with dried peppers.
If there is a regional dish in western Basilicata it might well be peperoni cruschi or pasta with dried peppers. I’ve come across the preparation at restaurants in potenza, Rotonda in Pollino national park and Aliano and in all cases the recipes are pretty similar. It’s crunchy breadcrumbs and deep fried, sun-dried peppers, preferable of the bright red, thin-fleshed kind from Senise. Peperoni cruschi looks like aglio, olio e peperoncino, but the smoky flavour and delicate crunch is quite different, so if course I had to try making pasta with dried peppers, when we returned from a road trip to Diamante and Senise with a suitcase full of sun dried peperoni cruschi.
400 g Trofie
4 sun dried peppers
1 clove of garlic
1 slice of bread
You can make your own trofie by twirling homemade pasta dough or you can buy a good ready-made version in an Italian supermarket.
Wash the sun dried peppers and cut them in small strips and pieces.
Nip the bread into crumbs and fry them in olive oil until golden. Set aside for later use.
Add more olive oil to the pan and fry garlic and peperoncino. Remove and discard both garlic and peperoncino before they start to burn.
Tip the frying pan to the side and deep fry the sun died peppers in hot, garlic and peperoncino infused oil until crisp.
Place the fried peppers on absorbent paper to maintain the crunch, but keep the oil from the pan.
Boil homemade pasta for 3 minutes in boiling salted water, or cook the ready made pasta according to instructions on the packaging.
Drain the pasta and mix with spicy oil, golden breadcrumbs and crunchy peppers.
I serve my version of trofie pasta with dried peppers with some red pepper sauce on the side, as parts of the family find the traditional peperoni cruschi too dry.