Copyright 2002, Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Serves 6 to 8 as a first course, 4 as a main dish
Instead of sautéing, this sauce is roasted. As everything roasts together, the peppers, olives, and greens play on each other's strong suits. Peppers become sweeter and more interesting because of the greens' deep brown, tart flavors. The olives are like adding meat and salt. They bring a robust accent to the dish.
The sauce tastes even better if you roast it five or six hours before serving. Keep it lightly covered at room temperature, then reheat for about 10 minutes at 350° as you cook the pasta. By the way, try the sauce as a topping for vegetables, bruschetta, or as a dip.
1. About 40 minutes before cooking the sauce, slip a large shallow baking pan (a half sheet or jelly roll pan works perfectly) onto the oven's middle rack. Preheat to 450 degrees.
2. Coarsely chop the herbs. In a large bowl, toss herbs with the 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil, and remaining ingredients, except the second quantities of oil and balsamic. Let stand about 30 minutes.
3. To cook, carefully place the hot pan on the open oven door. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Stand back a bit as you spread the pepper mixture on the pan (it will sizzle). Set pan on oven rack and roast about 45 minutes, turning frequently with a metal spatula. Encourage browning and crisping by keeping everything spread out on the pan.
4. Roast until greens are wilted, dark, and beginning to crisp, and peppers are wrinkled, but still have a little body. Taste for seasoning. You could keep them at room temperature about 6 hours. Reheat 15 minutes at 350°.
5. Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook, stirring often, until just tender to the bite. Drain in a colander and toss with the roasted vegetables and the 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar. Taste for salt and pepper Turn into a heated bowl and serve warm. Some like cheese with this pasta, but I like it straight.
Adam Rapoport, editor in chief of Bon Appetit magazine and the website www.bonappetit.com, knows his way around a grill. He has edited an entire book on the subject: The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon Appetit.