I know I've mentioned it before, but I LOVE television. Probably as much as I love food. And often, I find my two loves intersecting in a way that impacts what we eat at home. However, I didn't think AMC's The Killing would yield any culinary inspiration, seeing as the only food eaten on the show comes out of a fast food restaurant or a vending machine. I was wrong.
The Killing has a lot of flaws. A LOT. But it also has one of my absolute favorite TV characters of the past 2 years, ex-tweaker, mumbly, vulnerable Detective Stephen Holder. He is a complete mess of a person, and initially it seemed as though his parter, Sarah Linden, would have her hands full taking care of him.
However, as time revealed that Linden is actually a crazy person, the character of Holder became more competent, reliable, and even menacing, at least in one particular scene:
Holder breaks into the apartment of his ex-mentor to search for missing files that the guy stole about that Killing that Holder and Linden are investigating. Holder doesn’t find the files, but he does find a container of leftover pasta in the fridge, so he settles down at the dining room table with the pasta (and a gun!) to eat and wait for the bad guy to return home. And when the guy finally comes home, it's time for a showdown...
“You know what arrabiata means in Italian? Angry. Although in my case, it would be more like ‘pissed off.’”
I may have cheered. For the next two weeks, the word “arrabiata” kept echoing through my mind, until finally I broke down and made it at home. I used this recipe for a base, although I adapted it quite a lot. So much so, actually, that it is more like a spicy meat sauce than a true arrabiata. I still think Holder would approve.
- 2 lbs hot Italian sausage (not in casing)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 1 small head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
- ½ cup red wine
- About 1 cup water
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tbsp oregano
- 2 tbsp crushed red pepper (or to taste, I used 3, whee!)
- Salt & pepper
- 1 lb penne
- ½ cup fresh chopped basil
- Parmesan to taste
First, I browned the sausage in a large pot over medium low heat. I removed the meat to a bowl, leaving about a tbsp of fat in the pot.
I added a tbsp of olive oil to the pot, then added the onions and cooked over medium heat for about 8 minutes, until starting to soften, then added the bell peppers and cooked an additional 5 minutes. I threw the garlic in and cooked just a couple more minutes, until fragrant.
I added the red wine, deglazing the pot, and cooked for about 2 minutes, then added the water, tomato sauce, fennel seeds, oregano and crushed red pepper. I brought the sauce to a boil, then reduced the heat and let simmer on medium low heat for about 30 minutes.
After half an hour, I added the sausage back into the pot using a slotted spoon (so the fat didn’t creep back in) and simmered another 10 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper (and more crushed red pepper, if you like!) to taste. I also started cooking the penne according to the package instructions.
Finally, I took the pot of sauce off the heat and stirred in the basil. I served the spicy, meaty sauce over the hot penne and topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan. Really good. And you know what? It did taste angry. In a delicious way.