``Red Pepper Dip is delicious, can be made ahead, and, transformed into a sauce, goes particularly well with rigatoni, whose tube shape holds it so well,'' writes Jacques Pepin in ``The Short-Cut Cook.'' ``This dip has a fresh, interesting taste and is easy to make when you use pimentos or sweet roasted peppers that come in jars or cans. I add pecans, which makes a somewhat unusual combination. The dip is a big hit at parties, served with bagel chips, melba toast, or fresh toast.''
FOR THE RED PEPPER DIP:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 jalapeno pepper (about 1 tablespoon), seeded
1/3 cup pecan pieces
1 cup drained, sweet roasted or pimento peppers
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
FOR THE RIGATONI:
8 ounces rigatoni (large tubes)
1 cup Red Pepper Dip
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
For the dip: Place garlic and jalapeno pepper in food processor or mill and pur'ee. Add remaining ingredients and process until mixture is smooth. Mix in pecans if desired. Serve as a dip with crispy chips or toast. Makes about 2 cups.
For the rigatoni: Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and stir well. Return water to a boil and boil 10 to 12 minutes. Near end of cooking, remove 1/2 cup cooking liquid from pot and place in your serving bowl.
Drain pasta. Add red pepper dip to water in the bowl, then stir in oil, pepper, and salt. Mix well then add pasta.
Toss to combine and serve with Parmesan cheese if desired. Serves four as a first course, but should be doubled for a main course.