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David Lissner
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Eat this! Penne all’arrabiata, angry pasta of Rome

Tuscany's penne all'arrabbiata with seared sea scallops.

Tuscany's penne all'arrabbiata with seared sea scallops.

What it is: A simple Italian dish, penne all’arrabbiata features penne rigate, small, ridged tubular pasta cut diagonally into “quills,” dressed with tomatoes, garlic and chilies. The name means “angry pasta,” a reference to its spicy character.

Bolla Loza

Bolla Loza

Where it comes from: The dish is a specialty of Rome. Its specific origins are obscure but the use of tomatoes and chilies dates it to after the discovery of the New World.

What to do with it: Penne all’arrabiata is typically served as a simple first course or side dish or it can be topped with meat or seafood as an entree. The Tuscany restaurants in Little Italy, Oak Brook and Wheeling celebrate National Tomato Month through Aug. 31 with Chef Bolla Loza’s penne all’arrabiata crowned with seared scallops, on special at dinner for $17 (regularly $19). They use their house pasta sauce, made in a central commissary. The prepared sauce is sold at the restaurants and in local supermarkets.

Tuscany’s penne all’arrabbiata
Spicy pasta with scallops
Chef Bolla Loza

1/4 cup olive oil
12 sea scallops
2 tablespoons salt
1 pound dried penne pasta
1 24-ounce jar Tuscany Arrabbiata Sauce or 3 cups homemade sauce
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh flatleaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated romano cheese

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat and sear the scallops until golden brown, around 1 minute each side; set aside.

Add the salt and remaining olive oil to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and add the penne. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.

In a separate pot, warm the arrabbiata sauce over low heat. Drain the penne and add to the warmed sauce. Throw in the chopped parsley and basil and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Top with the cheese and scallops. 4 servings.

Fresh arrabbiata sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 fresh hot red chilies, minced, or to taste
1 pound very ripe fresh plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped

Heat the oil over medium-high in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and chilies and cook until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and simmer about 10 minutes. Mash the tomatoes with a fork or wooden spoon and continue cooking another five minutes or until your desired consistency is reached. 4 servings.

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