Angry food to appease the angry mobs.

Last week I wrote about people who don’t like celery, and how I didn’t understand how they could possibly dislike it. It turns out I had seriously underestimated how many of those people there are, and also, how much they dislike this seemingly innocuous vegetable. Turns out they don’t just ‘not like’ it, they actually hate it. Passionately. I usually get a few reactions on my blog, but never have they been so emotional, disgusted, outraged even, as last week.

“It tastes of sadness.”

“I wouldn’t eat celery to save my life.”

“What are you, some kind of evil scientist?”

Well, that makes it clear: celery is the Antichrist. And to think, all those years I’ve unwittingly been eating this evil. I could’ve accidentally unleashed the apocalypse, for God’s sake.

No, seriously though. I always thought it odd that some people seem to hate celery so much, but I honestly didn’t think it was that bad, or that widespread. Turns out it is.

It wasn’t all bad. Some people told me they thought it looked really good and that the combination was excellent (which it is, dammit!), so I guess it’s not a completely wasted post, that one. But still, to appease the angry mobs, to ward off the pitch forks and torches that have been pointed at me, and to make sure I don’t lose too many readers, let’s do something that everyone likes this week. Penne all’arrabbiata, but with long pasta instead of penne!


Penne all’arrabbiata is a Roman classic. It more or less translates as ‘penne, angry style’ and with some imagination they do in fact taste a little angry: spicy and garlicky. You can use fresh chilies or dried ones. Decide for yourself how much you want to use but keep in mind that dried chilies are usually a lot spicier than fresh ones, even though they’re much smaller. As the name suggests, this dish is traditionally made with penne: short pasta. I prefer long pasta and therefore never have any penne in the house. I used linguine, a sort of flat spaghetti, my favourite type of pasta. I’d say use whichever type of pasta you happen to have. However, make sure you don’t overcook it: it has to be al dente.

To feed two people you will need more or less the following:

  • two portions (about 250gr) of pasta
  • 2 cloves of garlic, shoot on the inside removed
  • 3 dried or 1 fresh chili(es)
  • about 100 ml of tomato passata
  • a little bit of parmesan and fresh parsley to serve, if you fancy it


Boil the pasta in enough water with enough salt.

Crush or chop up the garlic (after removing the shoot on the inside), chop up the chilies and gently fry them in some olive oil. Keep the heat low or medium, you don’t want the garlic to go brown. Once they’ve gone softish, add the passata, mix well. Taste for salt. Once the pasta is done, add it to the sauce. Stir well so that all pasta is covered with sauce. Serve like that, or topped with fresh parsley and parmesan.

About La dittatrice

After years of being based in Glasgow, I've recently made a home for myself in Turin, Italy, for the time being, at least. This blog is my captain's log. Here I note down what I did, and what I ate. A story, then a recipe. That's how this here works. Updates on Wednesdays.
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