“Simple, beautiful and rustic, this dish originates from San Fele in the Basilicata region of southern Italy. The name essentially means stretched pasta with pangrattato (crispy breadcrumbs), but I’ve added an ingredient that’s unique to the region – a sweet, dried pepper known as peperone crusco (Senise), which are picked, hung and dried, and have long been integral to many local dishes. Toast them back to life in a hot pan, then chop and scatter them through your pangrattato for something truly special. A joy to eat. ”
Place the flour in a large bowl, make a well in the centre and gradually stir in 200ml of tepid water with a fork until combined. Switch to your hands and knead for 10 minutes, or until pliable and smooth, but not sticky (adding a little extra flour if needed). Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into quarters (approximately 50g chunks), then roll each chunk into a long snake and cut into 1-inch nuggets (about 2½cm). Roll each piece into a mini sausage, and then, using three fingers, press down firmly and drag the dough towards you to make three clear indentations, with pointed ends. Set aside each piece of pasta on a flour dusted tray.
Blanch the tomatoes in a large pan of boiling water for 45 seconds. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice-cold water, then peel and discard the skins, and roughly chop.
Peel and finely slice 4 cloves of garlic and place in a large non-stick frying pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Place over a medium heat and cook until fragrant but not coloured.
Add the chopped tomatoes, bring to a simmer and leave to cook for 45 minutes, or until reduced and delicious. Season to perfection with sea salt and black pepper.
For the pangrattato, halve and deseed the dried peppers and place in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes, or until softened, then remove to a chopping board and finely chop.
Peel and finely chop the remaining garlic, then fry in the hot chilli oil for 1 to 2 minutes.
Tip in the breadcrumbs and fry for 1 to 2 minutes more until golden and crisp, then add the chopped peppers and stir to combine.
Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted boiling water for 3 minutes, or until al dente. Spoon the pasta into the sauce, adding a good splash of cooking water to loosen and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Divide the pasta between plates and top each with a generous handful of the pangrattato. Delicious served with a leafy salad dressed with good-quality balsamic vinegar.