Capicola Ragu with Sweet and Hot Peppers

Here’s a dish inspired by one of the most treasured TV shows of all time: The Sopranos. There are so many fantastic food memories within the show (Carmella and Tony getting obsessed with sushi is one of my favorites), but instead of recreating a classic italian american dish, I decided to make my own. Thus this “gabagool” ragu was born! It’s got the flavors of a classic italian sub – cured meats, tomato, red wine vinegar, and sweet and hot peppers — in a brand new pasta package. 


  • Many different pasta shapes, fresh or dry, work well here. Spaghetti, bucatini, rigatoni, fettuccine, pappardelle, to name a few. 
  • I’ve opted for hand rolled fusilli al ferretto. For a detailed look on shaping these little spirals, check out my instagram reels page.

Serves 4

  • 3 oz capicola
  • 2 oz prosciutto
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced roasted red pepper
  • 1 tbsp calabrian chili paste
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 1 dried pound pasta, or one batch fresh
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for topping
  • ½ cup, or more, reserved pasta water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a food processor, pulse the capicola and prosciutto until very finely chopped. It will resemble a dry paste. 
  2. Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil. 
  3. Heat a large saute pan or wide dutch oven over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and then the shallots. Saute for a minute over medium heat before reducing to low. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until very soft and starting to brown. 
  4. Slightly increase the heat and add the garlic and saute 2 minutes. 
  5. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the sweet and hot peppers and continue to stir, breaking up the sweet peppers with your spoon. Continue to stir regularly for a few minutes. You are looking to lightly caramelize the sugars without burning them (this will also cook out the raw tomato paste flavor). 
  6. Add the wine and vinegar and stir to combine. Simmer 3-4 minutes, or until the majority of the hash alcohol flavor has cooked out. 
  7. Add the capicola and prosciutto and stir to combine. Saute over medium low for 1 minute. It should look like a chunky paste. 
  8. Add the half and half, and stir to combine. At this point you can turn off the heat and pause the cooking process until your pasta is ready to add. 
  9. Cook your pasta until al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water. 
  10. Over medium low heat, add the butter to your sauce, followed by the drained pasta and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine, then add about ½ cup reserved cooking liquid. Simmer briefly until it all comes together. If needed, add more liquid to get your desired consistency. 
  11. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. There is a lot of salt in the cured meats, tomato paste, and calabrian chilies, so I didn’t actually need to add any myself.
  12. Divide into 4 bowls and top with additional parmesan and ground black pepper.