Penne alla arabbiata is one of the most delicious classic pasta sauces that people take for granted. Try this way as you will get the true flavour of the red chillies as they are cooked into the olive oil with the garlic and basil.
Make sure the pasta is al dente, this is really important because it is not just about the heat of the sauce but also the texture of the chewy pasta that makes the dish so satisfying. Make sure you use penne rigate as this is the perfect pasta for the sauce. Rigate means ridges so the pasta clings to the sauce. If you use a smooth penne the sauce will fall off.
You can always tell if you have the wrong pasta for the sauce when you have lots of sauce left over in the bottom of you bowl. Have a great week!
Ingredients - Serves 2
300g penne rigate
400g chopped tinned italian tomatoes
3 small red fresh chillies
2 whole peeled garlic cloves (cut into quarters)
4 tblsp of olive oil
8 basil leaves
In a hot heavy based frying pan, add the olive oil and lightly colour the garlic cloves and chillies. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep to one side. Add the basil leaves to the hot olive oil and cook them until they are slightly crisp. Take out and leave to one side.
Add the chopped tinned tomatoes to the hot olive oil and reduce by half (about 10 mins). Season and add the garlic and chillies to the tomato sauce. Leave on a very low heat.
In a pot of boiling salted water cook the penne rigate two minutes less than the packet says and remove from the water using a slotted spoon directly into the tomato, chilli and garlic sauce.
Add 3-4 tblsp of the cooking pasta water to the pasta and sauce and cook together for a further 2 minutes. Toss or stir well so the starch from the pasta thickens and coats the penne. Check the seasoning and add a dash of olive oil. Place into hot bowls with the fried basil on top. Serve with a glass of Valpolicella.
Follow Theo Randall on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheoRandall