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~ Slightly-Spicy Garlic-Butter and Herb Penne Pasta ~

IMG_2363In terms of the easiest-to-make, nicely-spiced, full-of-flavor pasta dish that serves as a foil for almost any Italian-American entrée that contains or is gonna get sauced with red gravy, this is it -- chicken, veal or eggplant Parmesan and chicken cacciatore are off-the-top-of-my-head examples. While you might be temped to toss some Parmesan cheese into this at the end, I don't recommend it.  Trust me, not everything tastes better with cheese riddled through it.  Save the cheese to top the dish in its entirety (even when serving it as a side-dish or eating by itself).

Penne for your thoughts?

IMG_2357Penne is short, tube-shaped fork-friendly durum-wheat pasta shape that originated in Campania, a region in Southern Italy.  Next to spaghetti, it's one of, if not the, most well-known and popular shapes. In Italian circles, it's sometimes referred to as mostaccioli, which references an Italian dish that features this shape.  Dishes made with penne frequently show up on restaurant menus at Italian eateries, especially here in the USA -- we Americans and Italian-Americans have a bone fide love affair with it. The name "penne" comes from the word "pen", which resemble the angled ends of the tip of a quill pen.

Everything tastes better with fork-friendly penne!

IMG_23281  pound penne pasta

1  tablespoon sea salt, for seasoning water for pasta

8 tablespoons salted butter (1 stick, cut into 8-12 pieces)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, slightly more or less, for heat

IMG_2334 IMG_2334 IMG_2334 IMG_2334~Step 1.  In a wide-bottomed 4-quart stockpot, bring 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon salt, followed by the penne.  Adjust heat to a steady simmer and continue to cook until pasta is al dente, about 10-11 minutes.  Turn heat off and remove pot from heat.  

IMG_2346 IMG_2346 IMG_2346 IMG_2346~Step 2.  Drain pasta into a colander and immediately return the steaming hot pasta to the still hot stockpot and place the pot back on the still warm stovetop.  Add the butter pieces, garlic powder, Italian seasoning blend and red pepper flakes.  Using a large spoon stir until butter has melted and pasta is enrobed in a flavorful garlic-butter and herb sauce.  Plate and serve immediately. 

Try it w/my Crockpot Hunter's-Style Chicken-Thigh Cacciatore:

IMG_2392Slightly-Spicy Garlic-Butter and Herb Penny Pasta:  Recipe yields 4-6 servings.

Special Equipment List:  4-quart stockpot; colander; cutting board; paring knife; large spoon; microplane grater

6a0120a8551282970b0240a4e50139200dCook's Note: Choose from any number of proteins we make for dinner.  Examples:  roasted chickengrill-panned steaks or pork chops, slow-cooker spareribs, pan-seared ham slices, broiled fish fillets, steamed or poached shellfish, etc.  I refer to these as flash-in-the pan meals because they go from oven or cooktop in relatively short order.  All you need is a side-dish -- a seriously scrumptious all-purpose side-dish. Try my ~ Egg Noodles & Broccoli in Spicy Garlic-Butter Sauce ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020) 


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