Hiking recipe: Penne Matriciana

So I am not exactly sure that I can get away with calling this a matriciana (which is usually done with bacon) but its a lot shorter than Penne in a Tomato based sauce with Salami, Olives, Shallots, garlic, chilli and oregano.

The recipe I will be doing here is for two hungry or three hikers. Fundamental to the design of this recipe is that everything in it can be without refrigeration for a few days. Meaning that it make a great day two or three dinner on a multi-day hike.  The most important part of this dish is that it can be completed using only a fork, pocket knife and a trangia (if necessary) it is a great hearty meal and can be cooked using very little fuel.

Required equipment:

  • Trangia / Hiking stove capable of simmering
  • If not a trangia two 1L pots, one for sauce the other for water
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board / Trangia lid (recommended)

The Required ingredients are:

  • Penne 500g
  • four large truss tomatoes
  • 1 pack of Twiggy sticks = 8 – 10 sticks (Thin Stick salami) – nb: any salami will work!
  • 1/2 cup of olives
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 fresh chilli (or similar volume of dried)
  • 2 Shallots (technically Scallions, aka spring onion)
  • Dried oregano
  • Parmesan

The Recipe:

As with all good hiking dishes, its about the simplicity with which this all goes together that makes it such a great dinner. Simply cut the tomatoes into pieces, the smaller the pieces the faster the stove will be able to reduce them to a sauce, diced somewhat finely is best; if you feel extra zealous or are being particularly fuel conscious, you can even mash the tomatoes with a fork to reduce the cooking time.

Reduce the tomatoes until they make a thick sauce, the dont need to be completely broken down, but the more the better. I generally use the “Full bore” setting on the trangia at this point, as the high heat is great for getting the tomatoes to break down.

Cut up the twiggy sticks to bite size pieces, the smaller the cut the more they will spread around,  Halve the olives, then dice the chilli, crush the garlic and add them all into the mix along with the oregano.

If you have two stoves or a fire and a billy available, Begin boiling water; otherwise we can wait until the sauce is completed.

Cut the shallots into small segments no longer than your fingernail, they will break apart in the sauce but too large and they will be an overpoweringly strong flavour; once chopped add these to the sauce, continue to simmer the sauce until both the shallots and salami are soft and mixed through. This usually takes around 3 or 4 minutes from putting them in the already simmering sauce.

Continue to stir and simmer sauce on very low (simmer cap 2/3 closed) if you have a second stove available. If not, take the sauce off and cover. Begin to boil water for the pasta.

When the water is at a boil, add penne and cook until done then drain. I sincerely hope that I dont have to tell you how to cook pasta.

Once you have drained the pasta, mix the sauce through and then add Parmesan to taste.

This is a great dish for an overnight hike, it ticks all the boxes, with multiple veggies, good amount of carbs and and some fats, oils and protein. This also works well as a Vegetarian /vegan dish, just substitute salami for mushrooms leave and Parmesan out respectively.

2 Responses to Hiking recipe: Penne Matriciana

  1. 500 grams of Penne and tomatoes!
    You are certainly must fit enough to carry this stuff!
    I always promise myself to get younger and fitter, next time I am out for more than three days.

    We generally have to limit each meal at about 150 grams per person, unless I catch a fish or find weeds that should not be in the National Park. The thing I miss after a few days is green food.
    The dried peas and beans are never enough. National Parks are parks because of the poor shallow soils, other wise they would be farms or grazing ranges. The poor soils keep the weeds very small.

    In the good old days we did eat the Thistle stalks and the Blackberry stalks, but they are gone. All native green staff is terrible except the native spinach, which only grows wild in the civilised areas. After poisoning myself when eating what I thought was a field mushrooms once, I have stopped eating anything that looks like a mush room, unless its the dried variety from the supermarket.

    In despiration once when we were days from the car, and, ran out of food because the children that would eat like little kittens found their appetite, and, were screaming for more food, I tried to get a Wallaby using a spear. I could no longer throw a spear as far or as accurate as when I was a teenager. I resolved to get one by bashing it over the head, by keeping myself close to the ground and not looking at the Wallaby as if I was only interested in eating the grass. Everytime when I rose up to take a swipe with a heavy stick, the Wallaby would disappear in to a green tunnel of thorny bushes in a flash.
    I had to live on raw shellfish for a few days, to leave the supermarket food for the children.
    The children have grown up and we no longer have these adventures, as the third generation only wants to watch TV or play silly games on the TV.

    One of the good things about getting old is that you use less energy to do everything, and, you dont need as much food to survive, and, the mosquitos dont find us as attractive as they once did.

    • Hi Charles,

      I guess I am pretty fit, but that recipe is enough to feed 3 people for dinner. I’d hardly say that its too big an ask. The other thing to consider is that by bringing high water content foods like tomatoes, you don’t need to carry so much water. Most places in Australia, you cant rely on having water there unless you’ve got all-year-round personal or reliable anecdotal experience.

      I am not a fan of freeze dried / canned food on hikes. I don’t eat it at home, so why should I eat it when Im supposed to be on a holiday enjoying myself? I take fresh food as much as possible, it weighs a little more but ultimately you get more out of it.

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