In 1976, Peter Finch donned the persona of a lifetime when he became crazed television news anchorman Howard Beale in Network.
He won the best-actor Oscar that year for his sterling performance, thanks in part for that dramatic scene in the movie where he stands up in the middle of the live, coast-to-coast newscast and screams, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”
My short-order cookin’, barista mixin’ alter ego, Lazy Person (LP), totally disagrees with Beale’s pronouncement. LP says, “Never get MAD In the kitchen, just get EVEN.”
And, get even he did, plating a signature pasta dish of Rome suitable for what ailed Beale –the “Mad Prophet of the Airwaves” — Penne all’Arrabbiata (literally, really mad or angry).
The madness or angriness– in the penne and not in the psyche of anchorman Beale — comes from the fresh or dried peperoncini (red-hot chili peppers) that’s in the sauce of this five-alarm pasta dish.
I don’t have a specific wine-pairing attached to this red-hot recipe. With all of the spiciness going on, your palate AND esophagus will appreciate a wine between 10-11% alcohol with a fruity bouquet and a light and refreshing taste in either red, white, rosé or sparkling.
Now, if you’ll grab an apron and a fire extinguisher, let’s head into the galley and get this culinary madness underway.
Step-1: Fill a medium-size pot with water, cover, fire heat to HIGH and bring to a boil.
Step-2: Rinse-clean the tomatoes, score each then place in a small pot of water, bring to a boil and continue cooking for 1 min.
Step-3: Rinse, cool, peel then rough cut the tomatoes into small pieces.
Step-4: Rinse, pat-dry then chop the parsley.
Step-5: Peel the garlic cloves and run them through a press.
Step-6: Water is boiling. Uncover, add a handful of sea salt, and drop in the penne and cook for 10 min.
Step-7: In a deep skillet, add the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes, fire the heat to MEDIUM and let the ingredients cook for 2 min., or until the garlic turns paper-bag brown.
Step-8: Add the tomatoes, half the chopped parsley and a dash of sea salt, and cook for 3-4 min. Turn off heat and let the sauce relax.
Step-9: The penne are ready. Turn off heat and drain and shake-dry the pasta.
Step-10: Return the skillet to MEDIUM heat, add the pasta to the sauce and saute for 1 min.
Step-11: Plate the penne, top with the remaining chopped parsley and optional cheese, then serve.
©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images