Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Sunday Roast: The quest for the holy arrabiata sauce

The problem with arrabiata sauce (and believe me I have tried many), is that no two places make it the same way. Some places use tomato sauce, others use real tomatoes. Some places use lots of sauce, others lots chilli. For me arrabiata is less a picture in a recipe book, but a vague sensation of tingliness in my mouth with a sweet after taste. It really seems a bit like a quest for something a little unattainable.

Between 2005 and 2007 I worked in a different location. This was cool on a number of counts. I had a different journey into work, I took pictures of the Eiffel Tower every morning for a couple of months, and more importantly, I had different fodder for lunch.

One of my favourite haunts was Deli's a chain of 'traiteurs' in Paris, which unlike other traiteurs, is not Chinese or French. Originally Deli's stuck to Italian, but by 2007 had branched into some curries and Thai food,  but my favourite was the arrabiata.

And then I moved back to my usual workplace and I realised that I was going to have to make my own sauce.

In the end after a bit of experimenting (read that as many, many versions), we (me and chief taster, the frog) decided the sun dried tomatoes were not really that necessary, but the cherry tomatoes were. Penne was nicer than fusilli and you don't really need lemon zest. So...

The Holy Arrabiata Sauce
serves 2

10 - 12 cherry tomatoes
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 big garlic clove
squirt of lemon (optional)
chilli flakes (1-2 tsp to your taste)

  1. Cook pasta
  2. Chop the tomatoes in half and heat with the garlic in the oil until warm.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar, sugar and lemon. Bring to the boil then simmer for a few minutes. 
  4. Whack in the pasta, twirl it around until the sauce is well mixed.
  5. Stick it in a couple of past bowls (plates don't let you mop up the sauce). 
  6. Scatter some parmesan if you feel like it.

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