The earliest memory I have of eating pasta is having ‘Baked macaroni with pineapple’ at each and every lunch or dinner outing with family! From then till now, Italian cuisine is one which I have come to love more and more. Probably more to do with the fact that it includes cheese in a lot of its dishes – almost all I believe (Correct me if I am wrong). And pastas are a staple Italian dish. Whether its the cheesy macaroni or the fiery red arrabiata – I love pastas. So, here is a pretty simple version of the same which can easily be cooked from ingredients lying around, ingredients which are very much native to Indian cooking.
Here goes the recipe – extremely simple! Though a traditional recipe does not include onions, I have added them to give the sauce a little thickness. A quick meal it is!
Fun Fact: Arabbiata is an Italian word literally meaning ‘Ángry’ – the reason why it is supposed to be hot and spicy and fiery red. And I love it just like that – Tangy, saucy, hot and sexy! 😉
- 3 cups penne pasta
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 small bell pepper each - green, yellow and red - chopped thin and long
- 3.5 cups fresh tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 dry red chillies
- 3 cheese cubes
- Salt to taste
- 7 tspns olive oil (you can use other oil as well)
- Chilli flakes (as required)
- Chopped corriander (Traditionally parsley is used, but I didn't have it so I used the Indian version of it)
- 1.5 tspns sugar
- Take water in a large vessel and bring it to a boil. Add salt and 2 tspn oil in the water. Once it comes to a boil, add the pasta and let it cook till al-dente (they should still be firm when cooked. Check here). Once cooked, drain the water and let pasta sit in a vessel. Pour cold water over it and drizzle a tspn of oil. This will ensure that the pasta doesn't become sticky or chewy.
- Take 5 tspns olive oil in a pan and allow it to heat on a slow flame. Add the red chillies (whole or chopped) and let it simmer in the oil. Slowly, the oil will take the color of the chillies as well as the hotness. (This literally is to prepare chilli oil. Red peppers can be used instead of chillies - resonating with its meaning - 'Angry' or red hot!)
- Once the oil changes color, add the minced garlic and saute it till it turns light brown and gives out an amazing smell. Take care not to burn the garlic for that would turn the taste bitter.
- Add the thinly sliced onions and salt in the pan as soon as the garlic is done and saute them till they become translucent and lost their pink nature. Keep on stirring the onions. Once they are done, add the tomato puree and pasta seasoning, mix well, cover the pan and allow it to simmer for at least 10 mins.
- While the tomato puree is simmering, take the rest of the oil in another pan and stir fry the bell peppers. Make sure that they are not overcooked.
- Keep checking on the sauce as the tomato puree simmers. Once it leaves oil on the sides, check for the taste. If not enough spicy, add the red chilli flakes. (I also added ready made chilli sauce for I wanted it to be spicier). Add the chopped corriander. At this point, the sauce will not be thick enough as the tomatoes have more of water content. So, we take a hand blender and blend the sauce well - to make it a little thicker as the onions are mashed and the flavors of the seasoning and salt are mixed properly).
- Italian cuisine uses Parmesan cheese in its dishes but I used the readily available processed Amul cheese. Grate 2 cubes of Amul cheese into the sauce and mix well until they melt. Finally add the sugar and stir the sauce until it melts and everything is mixed properly.
- Once the sauce is ready, add the sauteed bell peppers and pasta into it and toss them properly so that each and every boiled pasta is nicely covered with the sauce. Top this off with a little grated cheese and lo! your penne arrabiatta is ready!
Arrabbiata sauce is pretty simple to make and can be stored also for later use! This is one dish which doesn’t require much ingredients, is easy to make and wholesome as well – you won’t require anything else after 1 full plate of having this awesome pasta! Cheers! Keep cooking!