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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Food » Recipe: Spicy Penne Arrabbiata

Recipe: Spicy Penne Arrabbiata

By Chef RAHUL KHARE
Last updated on: November 04, 2022 14:12 IST
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Penne Arrabbiata, pasta in a rich red sauce, is a beginner dish that wannabe pasta chefs should master.

Rahul Khare's peppery version, with three types of capsicum, zucchini, broccoli, garlic and tomatoes, is a good place to start.

When served with garlic bread, it makes for a filling meal for two.

Seafood lovers might prefer to add a few medium prawns (7-8) while sauteeing the vegetables for the pasta.

A product of the Institute of Hotel Management, Meerut, Chef Khare has worked in several Delhi area restaurants like Molecule, Barcode, Ruby Tuesday and The Pink Room, before coming to Mumbai. Cooking Italian food is a passion for him.

Photograph: The Flinch

Peppery Penne Arrabbiata

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 250 gm uncooked penne, a tubular variety of pasta
  • 3 cups water for boiling the pasta
  • 5-6 pods garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • Pinch chilly flakes
  • 7 gm fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 200 gm red sauce (please check the note below)
  • ½ cup vegetable stock (please check the note below)
  • ¼ red bell pepper or red capsicum, cut into long strips 
  • ¼ yellow bell pepper or yellow capsicum, cut into long strips
  • ¼ green capsicum or green capsicum, cut into long strips
  • ¼ green zucchini, peel on, cut into cubes
  • ¼ yellow zucchini, peel on, cut into cubes
  • 10 gm broccoli, cut into small florets and blanched
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, to garnish
  • 2 slices bread, to serve
  • 2 tsp garlic butter (Amul garlic herb butter will work well)

Method

  • Boil about 3 cups of water over high heat in a large saucepan.
    When the water comes to a rolling boil add the salt and the penne pasta.
    Cook the pasta till just done al dente -- ideally use a timer so it does not overcook.
    Packet instructions usually recommend the al dente timing.
    Al dente means 'to the tooth' or pasta that has a bite to it -- not too soft.
    Well-made pasta always has a bite to it.
    Drain the pasta in a colander or strainer and return to the saucepan.
    Add 2 tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil, so it doesn't become dry and sticky.
    Keep aside
  • Heat the remaining olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or large frying pan and add the garlic powder, chilly flakes and saute a minute. 
    Add the fresh minced garlic, chopped vegetables and saute 5-6 minutes.
    Add the red sauce and mix. 
    Add the vegetable stock and cook 4-5 minutes.
    Add the cooked pasta, the oregano and toss so well-coated with the sauce.
    Let the pasta soak in the sauce for a few minutes.
    Take off heat, divide into two portions and plate.
    Garnish both portions with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
  • Spread garlic butter on the bread and toast in a grill till crisp and pink and serve with the pasta.

Editor's Note: Red sauce is a version of white sauce with pureed cooked tomatoes added to it.
Warm 1 cup milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat with a ¼ of a small onion, 1 tej patta or bay leaf.
Take off heat and let it infuse for 30 minutes.
In another saucepan, melt a 2 tsp butter over low heat.
Add 2-3 tsp maida or all-purpose flour.
Stir till you get a thick, smooth, lump-free paste and then add the paste of 2 ground tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes more.

Strain the milk to remove the onion and bay leaf and stir it into the butter-tomato mixture and keep cooking for 5 minutes till a smooth, thick red sauce and take off heat.

Vegetable broth: Make vegetable broth by combining 1 vegetable soup cube or 1 vegetable broth/bouillon cube or 1 tsp vegetable broth/bouillon powder with 2 cups boiling water.

Or substitute the vegetable broth by combining 1 chicken soup cube or 1 chicken broth/bouillon cube or 1 tsp chicken broth/bouillon powder with 2 cups boiling water.

Or make vegetable broth from scratch by boiling 4-5 cups water with 1-2 large roughly chopped carrots, 3 stalks roughly chopped celery with leaves, 2 medium onions chopped in chunks, 5-6 whole black peppercorns, 2 tsp salt, 4 tbsp chopped parsley with stems, 2 laung or cloves, 5 pods garlic, 2 tej patta or bay leaves till vegetables are tender and the water is steeped with the flavour of the vegetables and spices.
Strain and use 2 cups for the recipe.
Meat lovers might like to add 1 whole chicken along with the vegetables and spices while making the broth.

For a vegan version of Peppery Penne Arrabbiata, use almond milk while making the red sauce and skip the Parmesan cheese and use a vegan cheese instead.

For a Jain version of Peppery Penne Arrabbiata, skip the garlic and the onion in the red sauce recipe.

Rahul Khare is the corporate executive chef at The Finch, a cafe-resto bar at Powai, north east Mumbai.

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Chef RAHUL KHARE