As Indians, we usually eat rice on a daily basis – so once in awhile, pasta is a welcome change. Most pasta dishes are relatively easy to make, simple and just absolutely delicious. It’s a wonderful mix of both textures and flavors all in one bite. Best of all, you can add your favorite ingredients (vegetables, nuts, cheeses, herbs, seafood or meats) to this basic recipe – the possibilities are truly endless! This is my version of a simple pasta dish with an Indian twist, of course.
Penne all’ Arrabbiata is one my son’s favorite pasta dishes – it’s spicy, full of flavor & really delicious. It’s also very easy to make, which is a big plus for me ☺. In Italian, “arrabbiata” means angry although I’m not sure how that relates to the recipe cause we’re all smiles when we eat this dish! I hope your family enjoys this “Indianized” version as much as mine does.
Although penne rigate is traditionally used for this dish, feel free to use your favorite variety of pasta though the short shapes (such as rigatoni, fusilli, farfalle…) tend to work the best. You can add your favorite vegetables or favorite type of cheese - really anything works ☺. You can even use flavored pasta, high fiber pasta, whole wheat or multigrain pasta varieties. You may also use fresh pasta for this dish as well but please note that fresh pasta cooks up much quicker than the dried varieties.
PENNE all’ ARRABBIATA (Spicy Pasta)
½ lb of your favorite pasta
1 lb very ripe fresh Roma or plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
3-4 small green Thai chilies, finely minced (to taste)
1 tsp red chili flakes, to taste
pinch of ground cumin powder
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
freshly chopped basil (or cilantro leaves) for garnish
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for garnish
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until just “al dente”, drain well reserving the pasta water if needed later. It’s best to cook the pasta just before use. Transfer to a serving bowl.
In a large heavy bottomed pan (a Dutch oven works great) on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the garlic along with the ginger, green chilies and red chili flakes. Stir and let cook for just a minute or so and then add the tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook for 10-15 minutes until they are completely tender and easy to break down using a large fork or even a potato masher. Now add the ground cumin powder along with the salt & pepper. If you prefer a completely smooth sauce, let cool slightly and then blend using a regular blender or hand held immersion blender. If the Arrabbiata sauce is too thick, add a little of the pasta water until your desired consistency is reached. Now ladle the sauce over the cooked pasta, do not over sauce. Toss gently to well combine & garnish with freshly chopped basil and freshly grated PR cheese.
Feel free to add some vegetables to the dish such as shallots, baby spinach, mushrooms, broccoli florets, arugula, black or green olives, asparagus, broccoli rabe, zucchini…