A tomato-based pasta sauce, salsa arrabbiata--literally "angry sauce"--is made in countless versions in Italy, sometimes with meat, sometimes without, but always with some kind of hot pepper. The heat comes from small, whole, pickled peppers that are labeled pepperoncini or pepperoncino. Although these are milder than pickled cherry peppers, they provide plenty of spice. The sauce should have a pleasing play of textures, as well as tastes, and should provide distinctive bites of all the ingredients. Place the tomatoes and juices in a large bowl, and use your hands to squeeze the tomatoes into chunks. Cut the onions, pepperoncini, and prosciutto thick enough so that they don't get lost in the tomato sauce. Campanelle (sometimes called gigli) is trumpet-shaped pasta; torch-shaped torchio is a good substitute.
Cooking Light DECEMBER 2004
Bring 6 quarts water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a large stockpot. Stir in campanelle pasta; partially cover, and return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook 6 minutes or until pasta is almost al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking water.
While pasta cooks, heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, bay leaves, and prosciutto; sauté 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add peppers, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in reserved 1 cup cooking water and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Discard bay leaves.
Add pasta to Dutch oven; cook 1 minute, stirring well to coat, or until pasta is al dente. Remove from heat; stir in cheese.
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