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Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce! If you like heat then you’ve gotta try this healthy pasta sauce.
Homemade tomato sauce with crushed red pepper and lots of garlic.
Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce! One of my favorite quick dinners and proof that something so simple as tomatoes, olive oil and red pepper flakes can taste incredibly complex. Funny enough, as I post this Arrabbiata recipe today, I’m reminded that I’ve already posted a similar recipe twice already. I clearly have a thing for spicy pasta.
One version is served over pasta with roasted zucchini cubes and another contains a few more vegetables. Both are incredibly delicious but if you’re looking for classic Arrabbiata sauce then this is the recipe for you.
I’m fairly certain you’ve already got all of the ingredients in your pantry already (perhaps minus the fresh basil) to make this spicy Arrabbiata sauce, so you’re 99% of the way there. Make this one soon.
Here’s the secret to this Arrabbiata sauce, a trick I learned from Katie of Katie’s Pizza and Pasta here in St. Louis. Sauté the garlic and crushed red pepper in both olive oil and butter.
The butter (a vegan version works!) offers more complex flavor than the olive oil, while helping to emulsify the crushed tomatoes into a sauce. Cooking the red pepper flakes in this fatty goodness helps impart spice throughout the entire dish. Don’t skip it! You need the fat to bloom the red pepper flakes and provide the spicy flavor throughout the entire dish.
Then, you’ll add whole tomatoes that you’ll crush with the back of a wooden spoon as the sauce cooks. It’s really important to use good tomatoes here. Spend the extra dollar, it’s worth it. I made this dish with generic tomatoes and then made it again with the good stuff (you know the kind, the $2-3 can of whole tomatoes) and it was so much better than the first version. I know this to be true when I make my homemade red sauce, so why did I think it would be any different with whole tomatoes?
Add the tomatoes to the pepper mixture then slowly cook, crushing the tomatoes to make a chunky sauce. If you’re using the good tomatoes, they should mash fairly easily, but you might have to remove any tough stem ends with your hands.
Then, add in the basil leaves and cooked pasta. Drizzle in a little of the reserved pasta cooking water to allow the sauce to really stick to the pasta. Add cheese, if desired, and serve.
Here’s the question you will end up asking yourself: how can something so simple, be so good? And, that’s really the beauty of most pasta dishes. They take minimal effort to prepare, with dynamite flavor. Perhaps that’s why we enjoy a bowl at least once a week.
Arrabbiata means “angry” in Italian, representative of the spicy sauce in this dish.
I love saying Arrabbiata, especially as I can hear my grandmother’s voice in my head as I do. It’s pronounced ahrr-ahbb-yah-tah.
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!Print
Spicy Arrabiata Sauce! If you like heat then you’ve gotta try this healthy pasta sauce. Homemade tomato sauce with crushed red pepper and lots of garlic. Delicious and healthy!
This post was first published in January 2018 and has been updated with new images, July 2021.
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