Bucato with a Carnival of Sweet Peppers

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This pasta is as beautiful to look at as it is to eat. I tried this recipe for the first time with our coauthor, Carolina. It was a happy surprise for both of us: for me because until that moment, I had just written the recipe, not made it, and for her, because until she tasted it, she couldn’t have had any faith in such a mess of ingredients. –W.

Cooking Methodsauteeing



Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and Texturecheesy, sweet

Type of Dishdry pasta


  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeds and pith removed, and thinly sliced
  • 3 red bell peppers, cored, seeds and pith removed, and thinly sliced
  • 3 green bell peppers, cored, seeds and pith removed, and thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup veal or beef broth
  • 1 pound bucato, strands broken in half
  • 1 cup (about 1½ ounces) shaved Parmesan cheese, plus more, grated, for passing at the table
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the peppers and stir frequently so they don’t stick and burn. After a few minutes, add the salt and pepper, sugar, and a spoonful of water and lower the heat. Continue to cook for a few minutes. When the peppers begin to be tender, taste one to see if you want to add more sugar or salt. Add the broth and cook the peppers until most of the broth is evaporated and the peppers are very tender and sweet and dark around some of the edges, about 20 minutes. Add more water from time to time if the pan is dry.

  2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Stir in a small fistful of salt and the bucato. When the pasta is tender, reserve a cupful of the pasta water and drain the pasta quickly in a colander. Return the pasta to the pot you cooked it in and add the peppers and any liquid in the pan. Add ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Crush the Parmesan shavings between the palms of your hands over the pasta. Add the parsley and toss it all together over high heat for 1 minute. Add a little more pasta water if the pasta is sticky. Serve very hot. Pass the Parmesan.



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We love this recipe and have made it several times since it first appeared on Cookstr. We use perciatelli pasta, which I think is virtually that same as bucatini, and easier for us to find. We also cut the recipe in half, and easily get four generous servings from a half-recipe. It looks like the nutrition info in Cookstr is based on double portions, because it suggests that the FULL recipe is only four portions. If you find the calorie count daunting, cutting it in half is more realistic.


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