Arrabiata and Penne: Pasta Pounders
Arrabiata sauce has a perfect pal in penne pasta. Pasta is a staple in the Italian diet, with Italy producing over 3 million pounds of pasta per year. It is estimated that Italians eat an average of 60 pounds of pasta per year. They are, by far, the largest consumers of pasta in the world. Mangiamo! Let’s eat!
The first mention of pasta can be found in 13th century documents from Sicily which describe long, thin pieces made from flour and water, which were boiled to produce a soft doughy texture. There are many popular dishes made with this traditional Italian delight.
Penne are pasta tubes with ends cut on a slant that originated in the Campania region in Southern Italy. The ridges and hollow shape help hold the sauce to deliver maximum arrabiata overload. It may not surprise you that the name comes from the Italian word for “pen” due to the quill pen shape, but you may be surprised that you can hand-make penne—with a pencil. Before boiling the pasta, dedicated chefs wrap flattened dough around a clean pencil to get the signature shape. Of course, there’s an easier way. You need an extruding machine with circular holes, but Nonna will forgive you for the efficiency—and she’ll still pinch your cheeks and tell you you’re not eating enough.
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