John Keys recently linked to Pasta Shapes, but I can't help feeling that the page has a bit of an American slant -- some shapes are not what I expected them to be. Barilla, the famous Italian pasta manufacturer, has a great list of their own pasta shapes online (sadly, it's all one big Flash animation, so I can't link to it properly), and then there's the pasta glossary at About.com. Plus a complete whopper of a website, The World Directory of Pasta Shapes and Names (unfortunately, this seems to be under construction with many pictures and descriptions still missing).
But now, without further ado, here's my favourite pasta recipe, and a fairly simple one at that. Serves 4, I think.
- 500g Penne Rigate
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small or medium-sized onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1 can peeled tomatoes
- 3 peperoncini or dried red chilies
- optional: 20g smoked bacon slices, chopped
- optional: finely grated parmesan cheese
Bring a pot of well-salted water plus one tablespoon olive oil to the boil, add pasta and cook until al dente (usually, you'll find cooking times on the pasta box).
Option: if you like your pasta with meat, roast the bacon in a pan, then cut into tiny cubes.
In a pot, heat one tablespoon olive oil (careful, not too hot, or it will become bitter!). Add the chopped onion and fry until transparent; then add the chopped clove garlicand fry until the onion is yellowish.
Put the peeled tomatoes, peperoncini, onion and garlic in a blender and whizz until smooth. Put the sauce back into the pot and let simmer for at least ten minutes. Salt to taste.
When the pasta is cooked, strain in a sieve, then add to the sauce. Add the bacon if you wish (I prefer my penne meatless). Stir well, mixing sauce and pasta.
Serve immediately. Penne all'arrabiata is usually NOT served with basil or oregano, but parmesan cheese is okay if you like it.