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April 2014 Issue
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Penne Al Arabiata

The backcountry has its own culture. It’s derivative of New Zealand culture, but definitely not the same thing. One common thread that seems to run through it is obscure pop-comedy references. If you meet someone on the street who understands what the Ministry of Silly Walks does and knows who Inigo Montoya is and knows what the alternative to Penne Al Arabiata is (death by tray), then chances are they’re a little unhinged… or a tramper.

With that in mind, it’s probably worth learning how to whip up a classic Penne Al Arabiata in the backcountry.


Serves: Two

Weight: 1100g

Volume: 1200ml

Kilojoules: 2683

Cost:  $12.36

Time: 30min (in the field)

Fuel: 200ml of white spirit or 75g of gas.*


  • 500g penne pasta
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 anchovies
  • 1tbsp capers
  • 2 whole chillies (more if you’re brave), finely chopped.
  • 10 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 roasted capsicum,  diced
  • 50g tomato paste
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • Basil, oregano, parsley**
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

TIP Buy sundried tomatoes, roast capsicum, capers etc that are preserved in olive oil, transport them all in the same container and use the oil for frying the garlic.

First, cook the pasta as per instructions, drain thoroughly and set aside in a covered container.

Put the crushed garlic, chilli and anchovies in a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Gently fry until the anchovies begin to break up. Add the roasted capsicum and the sundried tomatoes along with the tomato paste and a splash of red wine. Simmer while stiring constantly until it reaches a saucy consistency.  Stir through the pasta, garnish with a sprinkle of basil, oregano and parsley and a handful of grated parmesan.