Recipe - Penne All'arrabbiata

You probably scrolled down a little to see the ingredient list and pictures BEFORE you decided to start reading the post itself, and thus you probably saw that I used canned pasta sauce when putting this together. I deeply apologize because I do know that making your own pasta sauce is so much more rewarding and basically tastier; however, I'm not so snobby that I will refuse to use canned stuff. I had to for this meal's purpose because I was trying to help get rid of the food in the kitchen and yes, there is pasta sauce around! Alternatively, you can make your own sauce out of crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, olive oil, and peppers.

Anyhow, penne all'arrabbiata is pretty delicious and stands for "angry penne" because of its spiciness. The sauce is hot and gives a smooth burn when eaten but not overbearingly so. Though completely not typical, I added bacon to the dish because Duc and I were just craving bacon. Who's to stop us? It was a great lunch which we enjoyed outside on the nice summer day and even jokingly took pictures with our new "Ethnic Studies" sign as we silly Asians had some Italian food.

Step 1: Ingredients (serving size: 4-5)
  • olive oil, for pan
  • shredded Mozzarella cheese, for topping
  • 1 tsp black pepper, coarse
  • 1 tsp hot red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 package (12 oz) bacon, chopped
  • 1 box (12 oz) penne pasta
  • 1 jar (12 oz) spicy pasta sauce
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 medium Roma tomatoes, quartered

Step 2: Prepping the ingredients
When making this dish, you'll have to do many things simultaneously. Start up a large pot with water for your pasta (follow the box instructions) and salt the water heavily. Heat up a large skillet and when warm, pour oil for the bacon. While waiting for your cookware to heat up, quarter your tomatoes and mince the garlic. Cook the bacon until nicely crisp before chopping. Reserve the bacon oil/fat.

Step 3: Prepping the sauce
When your water boils, make sure to put your pasta in. In a saucepan, pour in the sauce and let it heat up a bit. Right before it starts to boil, lower the heat and add in the tomatoes. Also, add in the black pepper and chili pepper flakes. Let simmer. As for your onion, chop it up. Heat up the skillet with the bacon fat a little bit and then add the chopped onion and garlic. Once it has cooked to a translucent shade, add to the sauce. Adjust spiciness as desired.

Step 4: Finishing
Drain your pasta and plate it appropriately. Spoon on the sauce, sprinkle on some mozzarella, and top with bacon to finish!

Photos courtesy of Duc Duong.

Penne all'arrabbiata