This is a simple, quick to make and tasty dish that blows everyone away! Bottom line - it's a tomato based sauce with a chilli kick to it. This dish is basically Italian peasant food, and although you can use more fancy ingredients, I‘ve decided to do a ‘real world’ recipe where you can get all the ingredients from any supermarket. My daughter has loved this dish since she was about 4 and it's one of my wife's favourites, too, as it is something fresh and authentic I make quickly without airs or graces. If you wish, dress with some fresh Parmesan cheese shavings and basil or oregano - entirely up to you and not essential to the dish. Serve with garlic bread. As I said, it's not a complex dish but it is exactly the type of food you'd eat in any Italian home in Rome on your average week night. Works just as well as a lunch, and also with spaghetti.
I always save any leftovers for the next day with this dish, it's usually got an even bigger chilli kick by then.
This is a great party dish if you want to make ahead of time and serve a load of people with something really tasty - just extrapolate the ingredients accordingly.
Sometimes when I add the pancetta, I also add in some chopped salami just for the sweet taste, but that's not part of the recipe and entirely optional. You could just as easily use guanciale or prosciutto or even chopped bacon but I like the cheap simplicity of pancetta. There’s no need to go overboard - just buy the cubed pancetta available at your local supermarket (you can buy strips of fresh pancetta but trust me - cubes are best for a quick simple meal). Your choice whether you buy smoked pancetta or not. It will come in a small plastic box for about £1.75 and you should use all 130g of it. Feel free to use more if you like, the more the merrier! If you're vegetarian you could always use a chopped aubergine or something instead of the pancetta. Add chopped bacon or salami or chopped prosciutto or anything of this nature to make a more substantial meal and / or add a little sweetness. Can easily be made a vegetarian meal by omitting the obvious meat ingredients and substituting with chopped aubergine for example.
If you're using the packet (dried) penne rigate, well that can take about 10 or 12 minutes so you will need to have started cooking that around the time you added the white wine. Fresh costs about £1.50 or less. For the wine, you can just buy the tiny individual size bottles for about £2.00 or less and Tesco, or even do a plastic can of Spanish white for a little over a quid if you really want to economise! Soave actually works quite well too, which is a cheap white. There really is no need to splash out on an expensive bottle unless like me you want an excuse to drink the rest with your meal.
Remember not to do dumb stuff like I do like rub your eyes when you are chopping chillis.
- 16 Apr 2012