16:49 | Posted by Nim Headland | Category ,

Spaghetti all'arrabbiata, 'Angry' Pasta.


I've been rediscovering my love of pasta recently, so expect a few recipes that will suit carb-lovers down to the ground. This is a classic, and great at this time of year when there is a glut of tomatoes that are still just edible.
This recipe has been adapted slightly from Robin Howe's classic 1979 book, Italian Cooking. I prefer it with a little more sauce than is traditional, and a good rough spaghetti instead of penne or macaroni. I used scotch bonnet chillis, chopped and with the seeds removed for a building heat as well as flavour. If you are less of a chilli fan, leaving them whole in the sauce and then removing at the end of cooking will leave a more subtle, slightly peeved heat, as opposed to my version which is really quite cross.

To serve four people generously, you'll need:

500g of ripe tomatoes, any will do. We had only about 250g in the greenhouse so I made up the rest with tinned chopped tomatoes. (blanching and peeling all those tomatoes is a massive faff, so I won't judge if you make it up entirely from tinned toms).
Enough good-quality spaghetti for four
25g butter, or a tablespoon of olive oil.
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, crushed.
100g streaky bacon or cubetti di pancetta.
1 whole scotch bonnet chilli, or two small cayenne peppers (these are what you'll commonly find in the supermarket) very finely chopped
50g grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese.

Cut a cross in the tops of your tomatoes and blanch for a minute in a bowl of very hot water. Peel and chop, discarding the seeds as they make the sauce too acidic. Heat the butter and oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic and bacon, stirring well until the fat runs freely, then add the prepared tomatoes and extra tinned tomatoes if you're using them. Add the chilli and stir. Continue cooking gently, adding about 3/4 of the cheese. Stir from time to time, and allow to thicken over a medium-low heat for about half an hour. With 10 minutes to go, cook the pasta, drain and return to the saucepan. Stir about half the sauce through the hot pasta to coat well. Serve to warmed pasta plates and top with the rest of the sauce and a sprinkle of the leftover cheese.

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