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Pasta Arrabiata Recipe (Spicy Tomato Pasta)

Pasta Arrabiata Recipe (Spicy Tomato Pasta)

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Pasta Arrabiata is an Italian classic renowned for its fiery kick (translated as "angry pasta"), featuring a tomato-based sauce infused with garlic and red chili peppers. Tossed with al dente penne pasta and garnished with fresh herbs, it offers a bold and satisfying culinary experience for those who crave spicy Italian flavors.

Pasta Arrabiata

Pasta Arrabiata

Pasta Arrabiata, a staple in Italian cuisine, is known for its bold and fiery flavors. The name "Arrabiata" translates to "angry" in Italian, hinting at the dish's signature spicy kick from red pepper flakes. Originating from the Lazio region of Italy, this simple yet flavorful dish features a robust tomato sauce infused with garlic and chili, making it a perfect comfort food for spice lovers. The sauce is typically paired with penne pasta, but you can use any pasta of your choice. With its straightforward preparation and rich taste, Pasta Arrabiata is a go-to recipe for a quick and satisfying meal.

Ingredients for Pasta Arrabiata

ingredients for Pasta Arrabiata

  • Pasta: The base of the dish, traditionally penne, which holds the sauce well.
  • Olive Oil: Adds richness and helps sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes.
  • Garlic: Infuses the sauce with a deep, aromatic flavor.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Provide the signature spicy kick.
  • Chopped/Crushed Tomatoes: Form the bulk of the sauce, offering a tangy and slightly sweet flavor.
  • Salt and Pepper: Enhance and balance the flavors of the dish.
  • Parsley/Basil: Adds a fresh, herbaceous note to the sauce.

Tips to make the best Pasta Arrabiata

Pasta Arrabiata sauce

Pasta Arrabiata recipe

  • Don’t Burn the Garlic: Sauté the garlic just until it’s fragrant and golden. Burnt garlic can give the sauce a bitter taste.
  • Control the Heat: Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your taste. Start with less and add more if you prefer a spicier dish.
  • Simmer the Sauce: Allow the tomatoes to simmer and reduce, which intensifies the flavors.
  • Reserve Pasta Water: The starchy pasta water helps to thicken the sauce and helps it cling to the pasta.
  • Fresh Herbs: Use fresh parsley or basil to add a burst of freshness to the spicy tomato sauce.

 Other pasta recipes you might like

If you enjoyed this Pasta Arrabiata recipe, you might also like my other pasta recipes. Here are a few of my favorite pasta dishes that you should definitely try:

20 Minutes
20 Minutes
  • 250g Penne Pasta or any pasta of your choice
  • 3-4 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2-3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans (800g) Chopped/crushed tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Parsley/Basil, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese

  1. Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of slat and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile: Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and chili flakes and fry for 1 minute. Do not burn the garlic.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the pan, stir and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. When water is boiling, add the pasta and cook to al dente according to package instructions.
  5. To the sauce add chopped basil, salt, pepper and mix.
  6. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta and add to the sauce, add 1/4 cup of the cooking water and toss to combine (if needed add more water).
  7. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Can I use a different type of pasta for Pasta Arrabiata?

Yes, you can use any type of pasta you prefer. While penne is traditional, spaghetti, rigatoni, or even fusilli work well with the spicy tomato sauce.

Can I make this dish vegan?

Yes, Pasta Arrabiata is naturally vegan if you omit the Parmesan cheese or use a vegan alternative.

Can I use fresh chili peppers instead of chili flakes?

Yes, you can use fresh chili peppers instead of chili flakes. Finely chop the fresh chili peppers and sauté them with the garlic. Adjust the quantity based on your preferred level of spiciness, and remember to remove the seeds for a milder flavor.

How do I prevent the garlic from burning?

To prevent burning, sauté the garlic over medium heat just until it becomes fragrant and lightly golden. This usually takes about 1 minute. Be sure to stir continuously and keep a close eye on it.

Can I add protein to this dish?

Absolutely! You can add grilled chicken, shrimp, or sausage to increase the protein content. Simply cook the protein separately and mix it into the sauce before serving.

How long does the Pasta Arrabiata sauce last in the fridge?

The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat it gently on the stove or in the microwave before serving.

Can I make the sauce ahead of time?

Yes, the sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a few days. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Just reheat and toss with freshly cooked pasta when ready to serve.


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