Remember when I thought I had the inspiration and energy to blog more? No? Me either. Wow – what an incredible year 2021 ended up being. After getting vaccinated and the world slowly opening for travel, we were able to head back to Italy. We spent three weeks in Italy in June, a long weekend in Tuscany in October, 10 days in central Italy over Thanksgiving, and we ended 2021 and started 2022 in Italy as well.
After a year of eating at home, all of our recent Italy trips have been culinary delights! We devoured menus, took numerous cooking classes and food tours, and tried regional specialties. What an absolute treat. I am keeping a list of recipes from Florence to Rome to Norcia that I want to learn to create. One of my “quarantine projects” was to try and perfect my penne arrabiata recipe. Arrabiata hails from Umbria or Lazio, depending on who you ask, and I love a bowl of it in winter. I can’t tell you how sad I was on a cold December night, after we climbed up the hills of Todi, only to be turned away from the restaurant promising me a delicious penne Arrabiata because we didn’t have a reservation. (I was a bit arrabiata that night.)
Arrabiata means angry. The angry penne. There’s nothing angry about this penne. It’s tomato with a kick from red chili. While I’ve bade this sauce and served over multiple pasta types, I think it does best with penne. The sauce sticks to the pasta and creates the perfect mix of both pasta and sauce.
If you’ve never made pasta sauces from scratch, I can assure you it’s easy. You just need to recognize that it’s hard to go back to any type of mediocre store-bought sauces. The great thing about this sauce, however, is that it is really easy. You can put it on and do other things while it simmers. Don’t worry – I promise you can do this.
Penne Arrabiata Recipe
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil (I love our Croatian olive oil for cooking.)
- 3 teaspoons of minced garlic (6-8 cloves of fresh garlic run through a garlic press)
- 1 – 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 – 14oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 3 grams of red pepper flakes (If you like spice, add between 5-10 grams of red pepper flakes)
- 10 grams of kosher salt
- Coat your sauce pan with the olive oil. Warm with medium-low heat. (I like to add a splash of olive oil with peppercino from Marronaia.)
- Add garlic and stir frequently. Keep stirring until garlic is light brown and aromatic. (You need to control your heat at this point, otherwise you will burn the garlic.)
- Add both cans of tomatoes and increase heat to medium. Stir until tomatoes are emulsified with the olive oil and garlic. Bring to a slow boil.
- Mix in red pepper flakes and kosher salt, stir until mixed throughout.
- Once sauce comes to a slow boil again, turn down heat to simmer. Let sauce cook for 30 minutes or until you reach the desired consistency. Stir infrequently.
- Serve over fresh pasta. (The golden pasta ratio for pasta: water: salt is 100 grams: 1 liter: 7 grams.)