Mark Ladner of New York's Del Posto serves fusilli (the little corkscrews) tossed with pesto and topped with dollops of peperonata, with chunky bits of white onion and fennel, at his pop-up, Pasta Flyer. You can make it with regular pasta, of course, but if you're going to try gluten free, Ladner likes the Bionaturae brand, made from rice and potato flours.
To learn more, read "Del Pasta."
Fusilli with Pesto and Peperonata
Recipe adapted from Mark Ladner, Del Posto and Pasta Flyer, New York, NY
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
For the Pesto:
4 cups packed basil leaves
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
¾ cup olive oil
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
For the Peperonata:
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
One 14-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt, to taste
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 anchovy fillet, roughly chopped
½ medium white onion, thinly sliced
½ fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 roasted red pepper, deseeded, sliced
1 pound fusilli, cooked
1. Make the pesto: Build an ice bath. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the basil in the boiling water until bright green and soft, about 5 seconds. Remove the basil using a slotted spoon or fine-mesh sieve and then plunge into the ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain immediately and squeeze the basil dry. Transfer the basil to a blender along with the garlic and olive oil, and purée until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Makes 1 cup.
2. Make the peperonata: In a medium saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the red pepper flakes and place over medium-high heat. Allow the red pepper flakes to bloom in the oil for 5 to 10 seconds. Add the tomatoes, vinegar and sugar and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes reduce to a jam-like consistency, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt; let cool.
3. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan over medium-high heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and anchovy, and cook until the anchovy begins to disintegrate and the garlic turns a light golden brown. Add the white onion and fennel, and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the from heat and toss in the roasted red pepper.
4. Allow the onion, pepper and fennel mixture to cool and roughly chop. Combine with the tomato paste and season with salt and sugar. Makes 1¾ cups.
5. Toss the fusilli with the pesto. Dollop the peperonata on top and serve.