Friday, August 24, 2007

Rigatoni Arrabiata

Spicy, meaty and great for a cool, autumn night. If you can find imported rigatoni from Italy, buy it. It costs more but there really is a difference.

2 plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
8 ounces (200 grams) spicy salami (chorizo or pepperoni)
1 and ½ pounds (500 grams) fresh, ripe tomatoes, chopped
8 ounces Canadian bacon (200 grams Rippli nierstuck), cubed
1 ounce (30 grams) dried Porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in about ½ cup very hot water for 20 minutes, water reserved, mushrooms chopped
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
Red pepper flakes
4 ounces (120 grams) pancetta
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
1 small bunch basil, chopped
4 ounces (120 grams) Caciacavallo cheese (or a strong Fontina), cubed
3-4 ounces (100 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated
1 pound (420 grams) good quality, dried Rigatoni
3 tablespoons butter

1) In a large pot, pour 2 tablespoons olive oil (saving the rest for later). Place pot over medium heat and sauté the garlic until just barely golden then add in the onion and continue to sauté until they are translucent (adding more oil if the pan gets dry). Add in the spicy salami and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until it releases its oil.

2) Add the chopped tomatoes, Canadian bacon (rippli), tomato paste, a dash of red pepper flakes, hydrated, chopped porcinis and the reserved porcini water-- STRAINED to remove grit. Stir, raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally for 1-2 hours. Add more water if needed.

3) While the sauce is cooking, sauté the pancetta until it is crisp, set aside. Chop the basil and the parsley. Cube the cheese and grate the Parmesan.

4) About 45 minutes before you want to serve, cook the rigatoni in salty, boiling water until al dente, still just slightly underdone. Drain, then toss with butter and olive oil. Taste the sauce, add salt and more red pepper flakes if desired. Combine the sauce with the rigatoni and add in the pancetta, cubed cheese, parsley and basil. Toss well to combine then pour into a buttered baking dish, top with grated Parmesan, cover loosely with aluminium foil and stick in a 375F degree (180C) oven for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly golden.

Serves 6

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