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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. And, if you don’t like heat, then you’ll want to head over to my homemade tomato sauce recipe.
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 what you’ll need to make this spicy arrabbiata sauce:
Why both butter and olive oil? Well, the butter (a vegan version works!) offers more complex flavor than the olive oil, while helping to emulsify the crushed tomatoes into a sauce. The butter and olive oil in this sauce is what makes it taste so complex for being such a simple sauce. Additionally, cooking the red pepper flakes in this fatty mixture helps impart spice throughout the entire dish.
Do not try to skip the oil and use water instead. You need the fat to bloom the red pepper flakes and provide the spicy flavor throughout the entire dish. If you want things more spicy, add in more red pepper flakes.
Heat both the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add in the garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté for 1 minute.
Stir in the canned whole tomatoes and their juices to the pot, then use a back of a wooden spoon to gently crush as the marinara sauce cooks. A wooden spoon should crush the whole tomatoes 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 then add cheese, if desired, off heat and serve.
Spend the extra dollar on good tomatoes here, I think 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 love this arrabbiata sauce most over pasta with more fresh basil, but the possibilities are endless with this spicy sauce.
Enjoy it as a dipping sauce with crusty french bread, on pizzas, with spaghetti and chickpea meatballs and more. It’s also great with crispy polenta rounds.
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, especially a simple spaghetti sauce like this one. 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.
Both sauces are made with garlic, tomatoes and basil. However, marinara is sweeter in flavor as arrabbiata is spicier using red pepper flakes.
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.
(24 comments) leave a comment
Exactly what I was looking for.
As good as any red sauce I’ve had a restaurant.
Love this spicy sauce with thick noodles. Very satisfying.
This has become my go-to sauce for dinner parties. Always a crowd pleaser.
It was a hit! A nice change-up from bland jar sauce.
My go-to arrabbiata recipe. Can you can this?
This sauce is SO good. Can’t wait to make other recipes of yours– I like my sauce on the mild side so only used 1/2 a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, still tastes great!
So simple and easy– a weeknight staple for my husband and I. I usually freeze 1/2 of the recipe for another day.
Fantastic. Served it over polenta with grilled sausage.