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Surviving Sodexo

By Charlotte Aaron

Section: Arts

January 23, 2015

Spaghetti Arrabbiata, a piquant Italian dish, is for those who crave something more savory than Usdan’s basic pasta with red sauce, healthier than the grilled cheese and certainly more “Italiano” than hamburgers and stir fry. Arrabbiata, which means angry in Italian, defines the spicy and flavorful sauce that can be created with ingredients found right inside the walls of Brandeis’ dining hall.

Ethan Saal, a first-year at Brandeis, initially created the dish when he spotted familiar ingredients among the array of everyday food. Looking to eat a healthy, yet energizing meal before tennis practice, he could not help but think back to one of his favorite meals from home—Spaghetti Arrabbiata. Saal, having visited Italy almost every year since birth, is an expert on Italian cuisine, and quickly adapted to the ingredients available. The recipe below spells out exactly how to create what Saal calls “Spaghetti Arrabbiata with a Special Twist,” all within the walls of Usdan.


1 bowl of pasta
Marinara sauce
Red pepper flakes
10-15 olives, green or black
1 scoop of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 scoop of edamame


Fill a bowl with pasta from the pasta station. Add marinara sauce. As Saal explains, “I am not a big fan of too much sauce, so I just put enough so that the pasta is red, but not clumpy.” Proceed to the pizza station and add red pepper flakes to the sauce. “I put a ton because I love it to be really spicy—I’m Hispanic,” Saal said. While it is common for pasta dishes to have cheese, Saal strongly urges against the use of cheese, as it does not complement the dish and decreases its health value. Collect 10 to 15 olives from the chips and hummus bar. The olives can be either green or black, but note that the red peppers in the core of the green olives add flavor to the sauce. Cut the olives in half and mix them into the pasta. Lastly, add a scoop of both garbanzo beans and edamame to the dish. Saal suggests returning to the pasta bar if the ratio of “extras” to pasta is off balance. “Make sure there is always enough pasta so that the pasta is always dominant and the extras aren’t taking over.” Once the pasta to sauce ratio is perfect, “You got yourself a really hearty and healthy meal to continue on with your day. It shouldn’t leave you too full, which is perfect for athletes.” No matter how you plan to spend the rest of your afternoon, Saal’s Spaghetti Arrabbiata with a Special Twist will leave you more than satisfied and ready to work hard.

If you have a way to survive Sodexo that you would like to share with the Brandeis community, please contact Charlotte Aaron at cj18@brandeis.edu and we would be happy to feature your meal in an upcoming edition.

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