Tuesday, August 24, 2010

3 Recipe #166: Penne all'Arrabbiata con Gamberetti (Penne in Arrabbiata Sauce with Shrimp)

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After mentioning arrabbiata sauce in a previous post, I was then inspired to create a recipe for it. :)

Arrabbiata sauce is traditionally served over penne, although other types of pasta -- like spaghetti, capellini, linguine, or shells, etc. -- could, of course, be substituted. It is also most commonly served with shrimp, although I've also seen it prepared with other types of seafood like calamari, scallops, clams, or mussels.

Although basil & marjoram aren't traditional additions, I've nonetheless added them to the recipe because the flavor of these fresh herbs complements the dish quite nicely.

And now for a word or two about wine: It's perfectly fine to add more than the requisite 1-2 cups of wine when deglazing the sauce. I'm actually quite liberal with it, sometimes using up to a half bottle! Honestly, it makes the sauce taste really good -- I'd say even better :) -- so if you like your sauce to be bold & spicy, then go for it. It really infuses the dish with an amazing flavor. Plus, adding more wine to this dish doesn't really overpower the other flavors at all or make it too strong, so don't be concerned too much about the exact amount of wine that you add.

Also, make sure you use a decent red, preferably a good-quality Italian red. In other words, no screw tops! ;) The wine doesn't have to be fabulously extravagant. Usually a $15-30 bottle of wine will do. I used the varietal Morellino di Scansano, from the Mantellassi vineyard, a Tuscan red from the village of Scansano, located in the coastal region of Maremma. It'll run you about $30 or so. There are also $18 versions of this particular varietal as well, if you'd rather spend a bit less.

Also, arrabbiata sauce, on its own, has some other, quite wonderful uses as well. It makes a great pizza sauce (with or without the shrimp), or can be used as a substitute for cocktail sauce for shrimp cocktails.

Penne all'Arrabbiata con Gamberetti (Penne in Arrabbiata Sauce with Shrimp)

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. garlic, peeled & finely minced (about 2 large cloves)
1 c. yellow onion, peeled & diced (about 1/2 large onion)
1 large fresh bay leaf
1 c. red bell pepper, diced (about 1/2 - 3/4 large pepper)
1 1/2 c. fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, including juice (about 2 medium-sized tomatoes)
4 Tbsp. (1/4 c.) tomato paste
1 Tbsp. fresh marjoram leaves, roughly chopped
1 tsp. crushed dried red chili pepper flakes (about 1 medium-sized chile de arbol)
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1-2 c. Italian red wine (vino rosso)
1/2 lb. (8 oz.) raw fresh shrimp (or if unavailable, use pre-cooked), washed, peeled, & deveined
8-10 c. water
4 servings (2 c.) dry, uncooked Barilla Plus penne
3 Tbsp. fresh basil, julienned or torn into small strips
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp. Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

Directions: Heat olive oil in large sauté pan. Add onions & sauté on low heat until translucent for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaf, & red pepper, and cook for about another minute. (This way, the garlic & red pepper won't burn from overcooking.) Next, add the tomatoes & tomato paste, marjoram, red pepper flakes, salt, & pepper. Quickly stir to combine & then turn up the heat to medium, cooking down the juice until it's reduced by half. Stir in the wine to deglaze the pan & reduce until all of the vegetables have sufficiently softened & there's only a thin layer of liquid on the bottom of the pan. (If you find that the ingredients are sticking to the bottom of the pan, then feel free to add more wine as necessary.) If you are using raw shrimp, wait until there's about 2 minutes left of cooking time, and then add them into the pan. When shrimp turns a bright white & coral color, they are ready. If you're using pre-cooked shrimp instead (if you live in a land-locked area, sometimes it's hard to find in the local supermarket), add them in the last 10 seconds of cooking, so they warm but don't cook through. (It's important not to overcook them or they'll be tough, overly chewy, & dry as heck!)

While sauce is reducing, bring lightly salted water, (seasoned with a drop of olive oil), to a rolling boil in a large pot. Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. (Barilla Plus penne takes about 11 minutes.) When finished, drain pasta, shock with cold water, & then add to pan. (By this point, the sauce should be of a thick consistency but still pourable.) Add in basil & lemon juice, stir well, & immediately remove from heat. Discard bay leaf & top with Parmigiano-Reggiano & fresh parsley, and serve. Serve with a salad or sautéed/steamed vegetables, &/or homemade, piping hot, toasted garlic bread, straight from the oven. Mangia!

Yield: 4 servings.

Variations: If you like, you can also add ground cayenne pepper &/or thyme. Or, add celery at the same time you add the onion, to give the dish even more flavor. Also, another idea is to oven-roast the red peppers (pepperone arrostito) before adding them to the sauce. This adds extra dimension to the dish, imparting it with a rustic flavor. If you use roasted peppers, be sure to sauté them for less time when adding them to the sauce. I'd recommend adding them in at the same time you add the shrimp.

Chef's Notes: If you are crushing your own chiles de arbol, I strongly recommend wearing latex or rubber gloves. I'll admit that I got a bit cocky while I was cooking this dish earlier this evening & thought I didn't need to use them. After all, I thought, I was only touching an uncracked whole dried chile into a mortar & grinding it with a pestle. So, why do I need gloves? What I didn't consider was that, first, a dried pepper doesn't have to be cracked for the capsaicin to permeate the skin, and second, that the dust created by the crushing process would travel. Yes, as I discovered, it most surely does. ;) And here I was thinking I was being careful all the while when I then reflexively scratched my ear. Oops. I had to pour a thimbleful size of milk, followed by an ice cube, into my ear to quash the fire. I can honestly say that I've never done that before. ;) And even then, it still burned for HOURS! Also, a word to the wise: Hopping in the shower doesn't seem to do the trick either. ;) Believe me, I tried that too. I had to wait until my skin finally absorbed the capsaicin. Needless to say, it was NOT fun. So, people, I'm telling you, wear gloves! Better to be safe than sorry. :-D


Anonymous said...

Excellent recipe, I loved it!!! I think the red wine really makes a difference here. Here's my result: http://deaugustibus.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/penne-allarrabbiata-con-gamberetti-by-cooking-with-corey/

Cyberpenguin said...

Wow, thanks so much for the enthusiastic compliment, De(au)Gustibus! So glad you enjoyed it.

Cyberpenguin said...

BTW, since you mentioned on your blog that you were trying to become more nutrition conscious, I'd like address your comment about portion sizes for this recipe: I calculated portion sizes for this dish as 1/2 c. cooked, which is the standard, recommended serving size for pasta. For most of my recipes, the typical assumption is that a side dish -- like a salad or vegetable -- will also be served with the meal. This rounds out the meal & makes it healthier & more balanced. And of course, you gotta leave room for some dessert. ;)

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