This Arrabbiata Sauce recipe is super-simple to make, calls for just 6 main ingredients, and is guaranteed to kick your pasta, shrimp or chicken up a delicious notch.

WHAT IS ARRABBIATA SAUCE?

Arrabbiata Sauce
Arrabbiata Sauce

It’s a spicy tomato marinara sauce that originates from Rome, Italy. In Italian, arrabbiata translates to mean “angry” sauce, thanks to all of those spicy chile peppers. And as mentioned above, this sauce can be used in any number of dishes.

Traditional sugo all’arrabbiata is made with just olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and dried (or fresh) red chile peppers. But modern versions are often amped up with some extra basil and onion. And since many American grocery stores don’t sell whole dried (or fresh) red chili peppers, I’ve written this recipe using crushed red chili flakes instead.

ARRABBIATA SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

To make this arrabbiata sauce recipe, you will need:

  • Butter or olive oil: Olive oil is traditional, but if you don’t mind cooking with dairy, I highly recommend using butter instead. Its flavor pairs so perfectly with the tomatoes and garlic, and gives the sauce an extra richness that I love. But of course, it you would like to make this sauce vegan, use olive oil or a vegan butter.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes: Again, we’re talking about the spicy little flakes that are traditionally used to sprinkle on pizzas — not ground-up cayenne pepper. That said, if you live in a country where crushed red pepper flakes are hard to find, you can substitute in a few small (whole) dried red cayenne chiles.
  • Onion: We will use one small yellow or red onion, very finely-diced.
  • Garlic: You need 5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Canned whole and crushed tomatoes: With such a short ingredient list, the quality of the tomatoes will make a noticeable difference here. I highly recommend buying San Marzano tomatoes, if you can. Otherwise, any good-quality brand will be great.
  • Tomato Paste: This will help to thicken the sauce
  • Fresh basil leaves: We will chop and stir quite a few into the sauce. But I also recommend sprinkling some on top if you serve this sauce with pasta.
  • Sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper: To season.

HOW TO MAKE ARRABBIATA SAUCE:

Arrabbiata Sauce in pot
Arrabbiata Sauce in pot

To make this arrabbiata sauce recipe, simply:

  1. Sauté the crushed red pepper flakes: Heat the butter (or olive oil) in a large saucepan or deep sauté pan. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for about 3 minutes, to help toast and bring out their flavor. Take your time with this because infusing this will make a difference/
  2. Add onion and garlic: Add in the onions and sauté until softened, followed by the garlic.
  3. Add tomatoes:  Then add in the cans of whole tomatoes, juices included. And as they begin to heat up, use a wooden spoon or a potato masher to carefully break up the tomatoes. (Just wear an apron so that those juices inside of the tomatoes don’t accidentally splatter you!)
  4. Simmer: Continue heating the sauce until it comes to a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium (or medium-low) to maintain a low simmer, and let the sauce cook for about 30 minutes, or until it reaches your desired consistency.
  5. Stir in the sugar, basil, salt and pepper.  Then taste the sauce, and season with any extra salt, pepper and/or crushed red pepper flakes as needed.
  6. Serve warm.  Or let the sauce cool and then refrigerate it in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

If the sauce gets a little too thick for your liking (especially once you have mixed it in with the pasta), feel free to add in 1/4 cup of the starchy pasta water to thin it out a bit. Or if the sauce is too thin for you, just keep simmering it until more of the juices have evaporated and the sauce has thickened.

I love to add 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. It really gives a amazing taste to it. To jeep the recipe vegan/ vegetarian, serve with plenty of nutritional yeast, vegan parmesan (I love Violife) or a regular parmesan (rennet-free if you’re vegetarian), and lashings of freshly ground black pepper.

WAYS TO USE ARRIBBIATA SAUCE:

Arrabbiata Sauce with pasta
Arrabbiata Sauce with pasta and mussels

There are all sorts of delicious ways that you can put this arrabbiata sauce to use! For example, feel free to use it in:

  • Pasta: Mix it into any shape of pasta or gnocchi, and combine it with any additional add-ins that you’d like. I especially love it this spicy tomato pasta with sausage and shrimp.
  • Pizza: This sauce will also be delicious on any kind of pizzas or flatbreads. (Feel free to simmer it down a bit more to thicken it, if you’d like.
  • Dipping sauce: For everything from breadsticks, to mozzarella sticks, to chicken fingers, calamari, toasted ravioli and more.
  • Subs and sandwiches: This great if you make a chicken or eggplant parmesan sub or sandwich
  • Pour over chicken or eggplant to make parmesan: This sauce will make these dishes delicious.
  • Seafood: Mix it with mussels, lobster, shrimp and clams. The spicy tomato sauce gives a kick to the seafood

Arrabbiata Sauce

Recipe by Lucy ChesnaCourse: Main, Sauce, SidesCuisine: Italian
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Calories

285

kcal
Total time

40

minutes

This Arrabbiata Sauce recipe is super-simple to make, calls for just 6 main ingredients, and is guaranteed to kick your pasta, shrimp or chicken up a delicious notch.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or butter)

  • 2–4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes*

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced

  • 6 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

  • 1 can crushed tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons sugar (alternative sugar)

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn or roughly-chopped

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions

  • Sauté the crushed red pepper flakes: Heat the butter (or olive oil) in a large saucepan or deep sauté pan. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for about 2 minutes, to help toast and bring out their flavor.
  • Add onion and garlic: Add in the onions and sauté until softened, followed by the garlic.
  • Add tomatoes:  Then add in the cans of whole tomatoes, juices included. And as they begin to heat up, use a wooden spoon or a potato masher to carefully break up the tomatoes. (Just wear an apron so that those juices inside of the tomatoes don’t accidentally splatter you!)
  • Simmer: Continue heating the sauce until it comes to a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium (or medium-low) to maintain a low simmer, and let the sauce cook for about 30 minutes, or until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Stir in the basil, salt and pepper.  Then taste the sauce, and season with any extra salt, pepper and/or crushed red pepper flakes as needed.
  • Serve warm.  Or let the sauce cool and then refrigerate it in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

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