3 quarts water
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 yellow bell peppers, cut into fine dice (makes 2 1/2 cups diced pepper)
1 cup finely diced smoked ham
1/2 cup chapagne, sparkling wine or white still wine
1/2 cup finely diced roasted red pepper (from a jar)
1/4 teaspoon saffron powder or turmeric
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 Chicken Stock (see page 225)
1 pound pasta-penne rigate, rigatoni, tortiglioni or farfalle
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Serves 4 to 6
Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan set on high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, salt, pepper, bell peppers and ham and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Pour the champagne or wine into the pan of peppers and boil until reduced by half, about 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the roasted red pepper, saffron or turmeric, cream, bouillon cube and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in the boiling water until just tender. Drain the pasta well and return to the pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constatly. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and cheese. Sprinkle each serving with the chopped parsley.
Wine Suggestion - Gewurztraminer