This is based on a recipe for pasta found in SAVEUR magazine, issue #120. "The secret to making this hearty Basilicatan specialty is to fry the dried peppers to a delicate crisp."
We began by frying dried peppers ("amarillo" peppers and an oven dried "no-idea-what-its-name-is" medium hot red shepherd pepper). The "amarillo" peppers are the darker ones and the oven dried "no-idea-what-its-name-is" medium hot red shepherd pepper is the red one underneath.
The pepper beside the plate is how the dried amarillo looks when we buy it.
Once the peppers were fried and cooled, we cut them into bite-size pieces and set them aside.
We made the sauce by frying 2 anchovies in a good shot of olive oil along with 4 or 5 cloves garlic, seasalt & black pepper and a tomato. Note that the tomato was unpeeled and unseeded - just chopped before adding it to the pan....
Then we fried the breadcrumbs with olive oil til they were golden.
While the breadcrumbs were frying we kept reducing the sauce until it was thick and intense.
We added the peppers to the sauce, threw in the penne cooked to al dente along with a little pasta water and tossed the pasta until everything was coated well.
We served the pasta immediately on warmed plates.
We liberally scattered the golden fried bread crumbs over the pasta. And because we had them, we garnished with some fresh basil leaves. Leafy greens were very nice on the side as well (especially because they were freshly picked red lettuce leaves from the garden).
And we dug in!
Leave out the bread crumbs, add a couple of olives and exchange penne for spaghettini to turn this into Spaghettini Puttanesca.