Getting Hot and Spicy

4 Dec

When it comes to Italian food, I have to admit that I love me some peperoncino…chili pepper. One of my favorite dishes is Penne all’Arrabbiata… made with penne pasta and peperoncino for a spicy little kick.

Well folks, all I have to say about this little discovery I made the other day while picking up a few baking ingredients at Castroni is:


That’s right: PENNA all’arrabbiata. Get it, get it? Like penne, but penna, ah hahahahaha, so clever of them I can hardly stand it. A chili pepper pen.

What might I need a chili pepper pen for, you ask? Well, I don’t really need one. I just bought it for €2,40 so I could show it to you. I was a little too embarrassed to take a picture of it in the store, seeing as how it was conveniently placed right next to the cash register for easy impulse purchase. A Kodak moment would have been just a tad bit weird. “Why are you taking a picture of the Penna all’Arrabbiata, signora?” BOH.

The little display holding the pens was majorly 80s, with a bouffant-hairdoed woman using her pepper pen to add some kick to a plate of pasta. And can I just tell you how much I love the package text?

“It doesn’t write and it doesn’t cook but… it’s a pocket-sized container of peperoncino. Be careful when opening so you don’t chili pepper yourself.”

No, I was not aware that in the Italian language there existed a verb as fun as “impeperonarsi.” That alone is worth the €2,40 in my book. “Mi sono impeperata.” — I chili-peppered myself. Ah, the grammatical possibilities.

Now, I haven’t actually tried out my chili pepper pen. Not sure if I’d really have the guts to whip that puppy out in a restaurant, since that’s really the only place I can think of where it would come in handy. I remember Bleeding Espresso once mentioned that in Calabria, some people don’t leave the house without a bit of dried peperoncino in their pocket, just in case when they’re eating out, the dish doesn’t have enough kick. I couldn’t believe it but thought that was awesome, since I am a great fan of peperoncino myself. So apparently this is the central Italy solution.

And while we’re on the topic of “What will they think of next?” —- might I suggest this garlic-based accompaniment for your next pasta dish?


16 Responses to “Getting Hot and Spicy”

  1. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy December 4, 2007 at 4:01 pm #

    What, you haven’t tried it?? I want a report back! 🙂

  2. Lori December 4, 2007 at 4:01 pm #

    I think that is the coolest thing! My new son-in-law is from Calabria and he is always asking for the hot pepper when he comes over for dinner. In the summer, he runs out to our garden to grab a pepper to slice and put on his food.

  3. nyc/caribbean ragazza December 4, 2007 at 4:39 pm #

    It seems I learn something new every time I read your blog.

    I am going to bust out the verb “impeperonarsi” in my next Italian class. Thanks Shelley! 🙂

  4. sognatrice December 4, 2007 at 4:42 pm #

    Aha! The perfect gift for P’s birthday today! He’ll just have to settle for the photo until I find a real one….

  5. anna l'americana December 4, 2007 at 5:22 pm #

    I recall an old Calabrian boyfriend’s (old referring to the relationship, not the boyfriend) father sprinkling peperoncino on EVERYTHING except his caffe…..That penna is a great gift idea for any Calabrese I would imagine!
    One of my favourite pasta dishes is Arrabiata, which they really don’t know how to make in the states, so I frequently make it at home, but still, it is not the same (not the water, the peperoncino, or the tomato….) but if you spend a small fortune on the proper imported pasta (de Cecco) and olive oil and get local fresh picked tomatoes, a decent head of garlic and flat-leaf prezzemolo, you can come close. YUM. Now if only I had a pen……..!!!!!

  6. Francesca December 4, 2007 at 5:25 pm #

    I have to get one of these for my brother!!! Too funny

  7. cheeky December 4, 2007 at 9:21 pm #

    That is funny. Not that I know a whole lot about Italy but I didn’t know about the Calabrian love of peperoncino. Is it more affluent there than in the rest of Italy? I’d fit in real well as far as that goes because I love to spice my food up.

  8. Heather December 4, 2007 at 11:47 pm #

    I must now attempt to work impeperonarsi into every email I send to my Italian professor. Best. Verb. Ever.

  9. Heather December 5, 2007 at 12:01 am #

    Okay, now I know what I want from Rome the next time someone asks!!!

  10. Darbs December 5, 2007 at 3:31 am #

    Hey Shelley…I have so much catching up to do! Hope you are well!!

    Oh yeah…I”M BAAAAACK!


  11. Robert December 5, 2007 at 9:08 am #

    Now, do you think they sell these in Turin? I have mates going over there for Christmas and can add this to the shopping list if there is a chance they will find it…

    I must admit I tend to add chilli flakes to some dishes at the table, notably stews and some pasta dishes. Still, I think it is healthier than adding salt and gives more flavour too…

  12. Gil December 5, 2007 at 9:14 am #

    Thanks for the heads up! I’ll have to look for them when I visit next Summer. My Son, my daughter’s friend and I love peperoncino rosso.

  13. Gil December 5, 2007 at 9:15 am #

    Thanks for the heads up! I’ll have to look for them when I visit next Summer. My Son, my daughter’s friend and I all love peperoncino rosso.

  14. kataroma December 7, 2007 at 12:04 pm #

    This is the perfect stocking stuffer for just about everyone I know. I’m going to Castroni this weekend to stock up. I’ll definitely get one for my partner (who puts chillis in everything although he’s not Calabrese) and for my sister (who is studying Italian and loves chillis.)


  15. Sassy Sundry December 16, 2007 at 9:15 pm #

    I’d be happy to provide the address for getting the Garlic Shampoo pasta sauce!

  16. Kevin December 23, 2007 at 6:31 am #

    Lft me get this right,you`re knocking something that you have never tried?I`ve been carrying a pen scince 2001,An italian girlfriend gave me one,and it helped with dull foods.Is this a take of yours?Knock the unknown?Boy,you`re missing out!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: