While I enjoyed the holiday turkey and prime rib, I wanted to start off the early days of 2016 with some lighter fare. This spicy pasta dish from Cook’s Illustrated fit the bill perfectly. The pepperoncini (pickled hot peppers), tomato paste, red pepper flakes, anchovies and cheese add depth of flavour to pureed canned tomatoes. The sauce takes about 30 minutes to make and can be prepared in advance and refrigerated. Cook’s Note: Anchovies are salty, so consider omitting the added salt.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Unico tomatoes and anchovies are additive-free. I used President’s Choice pickled jalapenos. Check the spices for colour and anti-caking agents and make sure the cheese does not contain colour.

Saute spices, tomato paste, anchovies and peppers

Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes

Penne Arrabbiata


1 28-ounce (796 ml) can whole peeled tomatoes

¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup (60 ml) stemmed, patted dry, and minced pepperoncini

2 tablespoons (30 ml) tomato paste

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon (5 ml) red pepper flakes

4 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced to paste

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) paprika

Salt and pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) grated Pecorino Romano, plus extra for serving

1 pound (454 g) penne


Pulse tomatoes and their juice in food processor until finely chopped, about 10 pulses.

Heat oil, pepperoncini, tomato paste, garlic, pepper flakes, anchovies, paprika, ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper in medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until deep red in color, 7 to 8 minutes.

Add tomatoes and Pecorino and bring to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve ½ cup (125 ml) cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot. Add sauce and toss to combine, adjusting consistency with reserved cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing extra Pecorino separately. Serves 4-6.

From Cook’s Illustrated