Prep 3 mins Cook 12 mins Eat 15 mins
Penne Arrabbiata is one of my absolute all-time favorite Italian pasta dishes. The fact that it is super simple to make in a Flash and have on the table in only 15 minutes is a bonus. Arrabbiata is a spicy pasta dish and literally means “angry” in Italian, so pay attention to the amount of red pepper flakes you use to control the heat as you like it.
Start with some good quality Italian sausages – I prefer pork, which I think has more flavor, but if you prefer turkey sausages, go for it. Remove the sausage from their casings and brown it with the diced onion. Once the meat is browned, add the vodka and red pepper flakes. I like 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to make the dish semi spicy, but not crazy. The alcohol in the vodka will cook out of the dish, so don’t leave this key ingredient out.
Next add a can of crushed tomatoes and stir in.
Another key ingredient is the light cream, to make what is called a “pink sauce”. You can use milk if you want to cut the calories. Mix the cornstarch into the cream or milk to make a “slurry”, which will thicken the sauce when it is added. As you stir, add the cream mixture into the sauce. As it begins to boil, it will thicken and you will have the perfect pasta sauce ready for your penne pasta.
While the sauce is cooking, cook the penne pasta in plenty of salted water until it is “al dente”, the way the Italians do and don’t overcook. If you have enough hungry people to feed, add the penne to the sauce and “marry” the two in the pan and heat for a couple minutes before you serve, which is the true Italian way it should be done.
As an Italian and a chef, I feel guilty to admit I don’t marry the pasta with the sauce. I’m usually feeding two people, so I add the sauce to the pasta on the plate, so I can keep the yummy sauce separate for leftovers. But when I’m being really particular, I mix the two together on the plate and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds to “marry” the sauce and pasta together.
Of course, sprinkle it all with fresh grated parmesan and enjoy. Mangia Bene!
1 small onion, diced
3 italian sausages
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup light cream (1/2 & 1/2) or milk
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 pound Penne or other medium pasta shape
Parmesan cheese freshly grated
1. Begin to boil pasta water.
2. Remove sausage links from casings and place in frying pan along with the diced onion. Brown meat, continuing to break up chunks of meat as it cooks. When cooked and onions are translucent, add vodka and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes until alcohols is evaporated. Add crushed tomatoes to pan. Heat on medium heat for 5 minutes or until cooked through.
3. In small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cream. Stir until all lumps disappear. Add to tomato mixture, stirring as you add so that no lumps are allowed to form. Mixture will begin to thicken. add remaining cream and heat through.
4. While sauce is cooking, cook penne until al dente. Add the penne to the sauce and heat through OR Divide among five pasta bowls. Pour sauce over pasta. Grate parmesan cheese over the top. Mangia!
Servings: 5 – 670 calories per serving