How to make Gennaro Contaldo’s penne with Trapanese-style peppers

Classic penne is the perfect pairing for this delicious sauce.

paying tribute to recipes from all of the different regions of Italy.

This penne dish comes from Trapani, which is found on the coast of Sicily. The recipe – one of many featured in Gennaro Contaldo’s latest book all about pasta – is one that requires little effort and few ingredients, but packs a huge punch in the flavour department.

Contaldo’s top tip? “I never put tomatoes in the fridge,” he says. “They’re always hanging up.” If you want your tomatoes to last longer and keep a sweet and juicy flavour, find a hook somewhere in your kitchen where you can suspend a bunch. Tasty – and doubles as a pretty ornament.

(Serves 4)

3 yellow (bell) peppers
4 oval-shaped tomatoes, such as San Marzano
4tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 red (bell) pepper, thinly sliced
350g penne pasta
A handful of parsley or basil, finely chopped
40g Pecorino, shaved
Sea salt

(David Loftus/PA)


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

2. Put the yellow (bell) peppers into a roasting pan and dry-roast in the hot oven for about 35 minutes, until the skin is golden-brown and the peppers have softened.

3. Meanwhile, bring some water to the boil. Submerge the tomatoes in the boiling water for two minutes, then drain, remove the skins and seeds, and finely chop the flesh. Set aside.

4. When the yellow peppers are ready, carefully remove the skins and seeds, and roughly chop the flesh. Set aside.

5. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat, add the garlic and chilli, and sweat for one minute. Add the red (bell) peppers and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, until the peppers have softened. Stir in the roasted yellow peppers and tomatoes, add some salt and stir-fry over a high heat for one minute. Reduce the heat back to medium, cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes, while you cook the pasta.

6. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente (check the instructions on your packet for cooking time).

7. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the peppers along with a little of the cooking water and mix well to combine while still on the heat. Stir in the parsley, then remove from the heat and serve with shavings of Pecorino cheese.

Gennaro’s Pasta Perfecto! by Gennaro Contaldo, photography by David Loftus, is published by Pavilion Books, priced £18.99. Available now.