New tricks for an old dish

 Wok fried spaghetti arrabbiata with shrimp

No matter how many foods I make (or attempt to make), I am always amazed at the new ideas that spring from the minds of inventive chefs and home cooks. The latest comes via Tasting Table, which relates the curious pasta technique from Sarah Grueneberg, who earlier this year won a James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Chef. 

Grueneberg is no stranger to Italian cooking. She cut her teeth working at the Chicago Italian restaurant  Spiaggia and she takes frequent trips to Italy, so she is well-versed in traditional pasta-making methods. But when it comes to her pasta arribiata, she employs a less-than-traditional tool: a wok.

"Arrabbiata means 'angry' in Italian," Grueneberg says. She asked herself "How do I make it more 'angry' without adding more spice?" In an fit of inspiration, she landed on using a pan usually reserved for frying. The high heat of the wok sears the tomato paste and tomatoes, making for a savory sauce that cooks in a flash. "The surface area is really important, because you can stir the sauce up the sides and it can caramelize," Grueneberg explains. 

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