Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Bucatini con Salsicce (Bucatini with Sausage)

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

There are countless recipes out there involving tomatoes, sausage, and some kind of pasta. It's an Italian staple, and I've seen many varieties from region to region. But flipping through Lidia Bastianich's wonderful book Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy, I was drawn to this particular for bucatini con salsicce that used pickled peperoncini for the spicy kick. I knew I could trust the woman many might call the presiding Grandmother of Italian Cuisine.

Most recipes in search of spiciness call for the ubiquitous red pepper flakes (known variously as hot red pepper flakes, chili flakes, or crushed chili flakes), which are fine, but I happened to have a jar of pickled pepperoncini in my fridge itching to get used. Though they are Greek rather than the "Tuscan-style" the recipe calls for, they were pretty close. I loved the way they infused the sauce with a different kind of spiciness: bright and slightly briney. The addition of white wine, which is evaporated and absorbed into the sausage, gave the dish even more flavor and balance.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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