What’s Burning: Penne all’Arrabbiata

Network ©2011 Warner Home Video
Network ©2011 Warner Home Video

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.”

Dried Peperoncini and Garlic | ©Tom Palladio ImagesAnd, 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.


Penne all'Arrabbiata recipe graphic | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-1: Fill a medium-size pot with water, cover, fire heat to HIGH and bring to a boil.

Cherry tomatoes splitting in boiling water

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.

Scored and boiled cherry tomatoes | ©Tom Palladio Images  Peeled cherry tomatoes | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-3: Rinse, cool, peel then rough cut the tomatoes into small pieces.

Chopped parsley | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-4: Rinse, pat-dry then chop the parsley.

Garlic fronts the press | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-5: Peel the garlic cloves and run them through a press.

Penne Rigate out of the box | ©Tom Palladio Images  Penne boiling in the pot | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-6: Water is boiling. Uncover, add a handful of sea salt, and drop in the penne and cook for 10 min.

Chopped garlic, red pepper and olive oil in the skillet | ©Tom Palladio Images

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.

Add peeled and chopped tomatoes | ©Tom Palladio Images

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.

Cooked Penne into the sauce | ©Tom Palladio Images  Penne sautéing in the sauce | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-10: Return the skillet to MEDIUM heat, add the pasta to the sauce and saute for 1 min.

Plated Penne all'Arrabbiata  Plated Penne all'Arrabbiata | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-11: Plate the penne, top with the remaining chopped parsley and optional cheese, then serve.



©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images

The Palladian Traveler's Borsalino over Red | ©Tom Palladio Images


Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along the travertine and cobblestone that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches via TravelingBoy.com and Anthology Magazine Ireland.


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