Rigatoni All’Arrabbiata (al-ah-rah-BIA-tah) roughly translates to pissed off rigatoni from Italian. As you can imagine, if a dish was described as being pissed off, it’d probably be a little spicy. When I used to work in a kitchen, I loved it when an arrabbiata order got called. Why, you ask? Well, on the odd occasion, there would be a fool who would request that the chef make it extra hot. Hotter than the fires of burning hell. I would smirk, and kindly tell the waitress, “Sure! Not a problem!”.
I would conjure up a concoction that would be sure to have him begging for a glass of water, a beer, milk, something to soothe his ailing face (No, not just his tongue. His whole face). Now, why would I do such a thing? Other than to sell more beer for the restaurant, it would make the poor bastard really happy. “Finally, somebody makes a spicy pasta around here”, he would tell me. Then go off on his way. Did he come back? Of course. Some Italians are stupid like that (I am Italian, I am allowed to say that!).
The key to making a killer Arrabbiata sauce is not just some awesome hot peppers, but it’s the ingredients around the peppers that truly make the dish shine. That’s true for any pasta sauce, really. The success of the dish will rely heavily on the quality of these three ingredients: the tomatoes, the wine and the cheese. Choose tinned Italian tomatoes, preferably San Marzano. They are remarkably sweet and not very acidic. Never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink. Finally, choose Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – this is NOT the same as the pre-grated, shaker can of “Parmesan”. No. Put that down. Buy a piece of Parmigiano Reggiano and grate it yourself. It makes a WORLD of difference. Just like our Bacon Recipes make a world of a differnce to the world or I’d like to think so.
Quality in, quality out. You really can’t go wrong. Hmmm That sounds like all Maple Leaf products… quality in, quality out… you can taste the difference. (I really should be a marketer, similar to the musketeers but we serve ads).
Continue reading this article…