Friday, July 28, 2006

penne all’arrabbiata

I don’t know what I would do without this recipe in my bag of tricks. It’s another fave from Vera. In Italian, arrabbiata means angry or in this case spicy. If you order this dish in Italy, just make sure you linger over the n’s in penne, otherwise you’ll be ordering an angry, um,*part of the male anatomy used to make babies* (ahem). Ok, now that you’ve been forewarned, on to the recipe:
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup butter
a couple of slices Pancetta, diced
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
red pepper flakes to desired spiciness
½ cup white wine
28 oz. can of tomatoes, diced
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup romano cheese
1 lb penne
Saute onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and pancetta in olive oil and butter over medium heat until onions are golden brown. Add wine and simmer on low, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has reduced down. Add tomatoes and simmer on low heat for 45-60 minutes, stirring often. Cook pasta to al dente and drain. Combine pasta, tomato sauce and cheeses in one bowl and mix well. Serves 4-6.

Note 1: Quality of ingredients is ESSENTIAL to the success of this recipe. Do not attempt if you have only cheese from a shaker can, wine out of a box, or minced garlic out of a jar. And absolutely do not use margarine instead of butter. I shudder to think of it.

Note 2: I usually use more olive oil and less butter, then pat myself on the back for being healthy. I also usually leave out the pancetta just because I don’t always have it in my fridge unlike the rest of the ingredients. It still tastes delicious although I have to admit whenever I make the full blown version it gets a bigger thumbs up from my husband.

Note 3: I use whatever wine I have available – red or white. I think it’s just as good either way since it’s buried deep within the sauce, but then again I am not a complete wine snob.

Note 4: Since this makes enough sauce to serve 4-6 and I’m usually cooking for just one or two at a time depending on travel schedules, I no longer mix the pasta, sauce and cheese in a bowl. Instead, I just dollop some sauce on our pasta and then grate the cheeses right on top of the sauce. Sometimes we do a pasta, cheese, sauce, cheese layer if we’re feeling really spunky. That way, the extra sauce keeps better for leftovers (tastes great over grilled polenta with mozzarella di bufallo).

Note 5: The recipe does not call for additional salt because the pancetta and the romano cheese are both pretty salty. If you’re leaving out one or both of these, then I would add a small pinch of salt to the sauce. Just don’t overdo it because (trust me, I’ve been there) too salty = inedible.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you remember the story of me ordering a small *ahem* in Italy during a cooking class???


6:20 PM  
Blogger heather lorin said...

I forgot about that - ha!

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your penne all'arrabbiata is the best. I often get the garlic brown which ruins it - probably have the heat too high. And then I start over. Just a tip - take your time.

5:34 AM  
Blogger heather lorin said...

The original recipe doesn't even call for garlic! We added it as an experiment and have never gone back to the original version.

9:26 AM  

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