Spaghetti Arrabbiata sauce is a spicy Italian tomato sauce made with garlic, tomatoes, and red chili peppers. It is best used as a fiery and flavorful topping for spaghetti or other pasta dishes.
This sauce is a quick and easy and made in just 30 minutes. If you've been trying to find a recipe for pasta with a bit of a kick you've come to the right place. This spicy arrabbiata sauce will be perfect for your next family pasta night!
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What is arrabbiata pasta?
Arrabbiata pasta is pasta served with a spicy tomato sauce. The arrabbiata sauce is typically made with crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. While marinara sauce is also a tomato sauce it does not have the same level of spice that arrabbiata does.
Just to make sure you get the correct spelling of this spicy sauce it is 'arrabbiata' and not 'arrabiata' sauce.
Why you will love this spicy spaghetti arrabbiata
Heat Variation: If you appreciate a bit of heat in your dishes, the spicy arrabbiata sauce allows you to control the level of spiciness. You can tailor the recipe to your preferred heat intensity, making it suitable for those who enjoy a mild kick or crave a fiery experience.
Simplicity and Speed: This recipe is perfect for busy days when you want a delicious meal without spending hours in the kitchen. The straightforward preparation of the arrabbiata sauce makes it a go-to option for a flavorful quick weeknight dinner.
Versatility: The spicy arrabbiata sauce pairs well with various pasta shapes, giving you the flexibility to choose your favorite. Whether you prefer spaghetti, penne, or another type of pasta, this recipe offers versatility, allowing you to enjoy the bold flavors with your preferred noodle style.
Simple ingredients to make spaghetti arrabbiata
- Spaghetti - Use spaghetti or your preferred shape of pasta.
- Olive Oil - Extra virgin olive oil is the best option but any kind will work.
- Onion - I used a white onion, finely diced, but any type of onion is fine.
- Garlic Cloves - Fresh garlic cloves, minced, are ideal but jarred garlic is a good substitute.
- Crushed Tomatoes - Canned crushed tomatoes are great to make the thick sauce.
- Sugar - A touch of sugar helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
- Spices- Basil, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. The crushed red pepper gives the sauce its spicy flavor.
- Parmesan Cheese - Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the best flavor.
- Fresh Basil Ribbons - Fresh herbs are always great as garnish on a pasta dish.
How to make spaghetti arrabbiata
Step 1: Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to package instructions.
Step 2: In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic cloves, crushed red peppers and diced onion to the pan. Saute, stirring constantly, until the onion turns translucent. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
Step 3: Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, basil, salt, and black pepper to the skillet.
Step 4: Simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat. Add either a little water or chicken broth to get the desired consistency. You will want the sauce to be thicker for pizza and thinner for pasta.
Step 5: Serve the sauce over the spaghetti or toss the sauce and spaghetti together and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil or parsley.
Recipe tips and variations
Add protein - Although this is a vegetarian dish you can add cooked chicken, shrimp or even throw in some cannellini beans or a can of tuna to this classic arrabbiata sauce.
Change up the pasta - Any shape of pasta works with arrabbiata sauce so choose your favorite pasta. You can also use gluten-free pasta if gluten is a concern.
Don't overcook the pasta - Al dente pasta is my recommendation.
Instead of crushed tomatoes - You can use a jar of passata or tomato puree if you can't find crushed tomatoes. Or pick up canned San Marzano tomatoes and put them in the blender or mash them with a potato masher to make a sauce. You can also use a combination of good quality fresh tomatoes; both plum tomatoes and cherry tomatoes would make an excellent choice.
Serve with garlic bread -Make this Stuffed Garlic Bread to soak up all the leftover spicy pasta sauce.
Instead of Parmesan cheese. One of the best alternatives for Parmesan cheese is Pecorino Romano. Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty Italian cheese made from sheep's milk, and it shares some similarities with Parmesan.
Fridge: Leftover spaghetti arrabbiata can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. Let the spaghetti pasta come to room temperature before storing it.
Freezer: The sauce can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheat: Thaw frozen pasta sauce in the fridge overnight and reheat over the stove or in the microwave. Toss with fresh pasta and serve.
While they are both tomato based pasta sauces the main difference is puttanesca has olives and anchovies while arrabbiata is just tomatoes.
Research tells me bolognese sauce is the most popular sauce in Italy.
The pasta of choice is typically penne with arrabbiata sauce which is why you are likely to see the classic Italian dish called penne arrabbiata on the menu at your favorite Italian restaurant. However, any shape of pasta works.
More delicious pasta dinner recipes
Spaghetti Arrabbiata - Spicy Pasta Recipe
- Cook spaghetti according to directions.1 pound Spaghetti
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic cloves, crushed red pepper flakes and diced onion to the pan. Saute stirring constantly until the onion turns translucent. Being careful not to burnt the garlic.2 Tablespoon Olive Oil, ¼ cup Diced Onion, 2 cloves Fresh Garlic
- Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, basil, salt, and black pepper to the skillet.1 28 ounce Crushed Tomatoes, 1 teaspoon Sugar, 1 Tablespoon Basil, ½ teaspoon Salt, ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper, ¼ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
- Simmer for 25 minutes. Add either water or chicken broth to get the desired consistency. You will want the sauce to be thicker for pizza and thinner for pasta. You can control the thickness with water or chicken broth.¼ cup Water
- Serve the sauce over the spaghetti or toss the sauce and spaghetti together and a sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.½ cup Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, Garnish with Fresh Basil Ribbons