This Spicy Spaghetti Arrabbiata is one of my go-to pasta dishes. The sauce is made with loads of rich tomatoes, plenty of garlic and of course, the all-important spicy, fiery chili flakes which give this sauce its name. Al'Arrabbiata. Or spicy and hot-tempered. Delicious, easy, and can be on the table in less than 30 minutes!
This classic Italian pasta dish is called Al'Arrabbiata because Arrabbiata is a noun that means angry. So we are eating angry, spicy spaghetti! Yum!
Arrabbiata sauce is super simple to make, and can be used in lots of different ways, as well as customised to your own preference for heat. I like to serve mine with spaghetti, and a sprinkle of Pangritata , which are Crispy Breadcrumbs for Pasta . Serve with a fresh green salad and some very non-traditional Vegan Garlic Bread.
If you're a spicy pasta lover (like me) you might want to try my favourite Vegan Penne Puttanesca, which is similar to the spaghetti arrabiata, but has capers and olives in it too. Or why not try this Creamy Harissa Pasta for another spicy but simple pasta.
I think one of the nicest things about this spaghetti arrabbiata recipe, is that it uses simple, store cupboard ingredients, and takes less than 30 minutes to cook.
- Crushed Tomatoes: Choose good quality tinned/canned chopped or crushed tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes are often the ones used by the best Italian brands. This dish rests on the richness of the tomatoes, so choose the best you can afford.
- Garlic: Only fresh garlic will do. (or at the very least, frozen or jarred) Garlic powder does not have the flavour you're after.
- Red Chili Flakes: Go as hot as you dare with spicy red pepper flakes. The spice level is up to you.
- Extra Virgin Olive oil: Like many Italian dishes, the olive oil plays a big part in the overall flavour of the dish. Choose a good cooking quality extra virgin olive oil. Save your fanciest one for salads or to drizzle on top though!
- Onion: Optional, but I like to add it for sweetness and flavour balance.
- Salt: You need salt for the pasta water and salt for the sauce.
- Spaghetti or other pasta: Choose whichever pasta type takes your fancy. I happen to love making this with spaghetti. If you like you can choose a gluten-free variety.
- Basil or fresh parsley to serve: Optional, but I love either or both stirred in just before serving.
See recipe card for quantities.
Making this spicy spaghetti tomato sauce couldn't be easier. Follow along with these instructions for the perfect pasta !
1..Chop garlic and onion and gently sautee over a low heat in one or two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add the red pepper flakes and stir.
2. Add the tins of tomatoes as well as some water (rinse out the tins!) Gently simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
3. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted water until al dente. Remove from the heat. If it needs a little extra sauciness, add a little of the pasta water. Add the cooked spaghetti to the sauce and stir.
4. Sprinkle over some basil or parsley and serve.
Hint: Don't waste any tomatoes in the bottom of the can (tin). Rinse out with a little water and add to the sauce before simmering slowly.
🌶Substitutions and Variations
This delicious recipe for spaghetti arrabbiata can be customized to suit your tastes and the season:
- Fresh Cherry Tomatoes - Add in a handful or two of fresh cherry tomatoes to the sauce. Especially good in summer when tomatoes are abundant.
- Gluten-Free - Choose a good gluten free spaghetti or pasta in place of regular dried pasta.
- Milder or spicier chili peppers: Choose your spice level! You could use fresh chilis or keep using the crushed red pepper flakes.
- Capers: add some capers for zing.
- Other Veggies: add in some zucchini ribbons, spinach or other green leafy veggies. They pair well with the tomato sauce and let's face it, everyone should be eating more greens.
You'll need a good large saucepan and a large skillet or pan to cook the spaghetti sauce in.
Any leftovers can be turned into a delicious Leftover Pasta Frittata. Or just put into an airtight container in the fridge and heat up to eat the next day or for up to 5 days. If you make extra sauce, it freezes well for up to three months. I don't suggest freezing cooked pasta however.
Reserve a little of the pasta cooking water when draining the spaghetti. Mix the drained spaghetti into the pasta sauce, then if needed add a little pasta water. This helps the sauce 'cling' to the pasta.
Both Arrabiata and marinara sauce are based on tomatoes cooked with plenty of garlic and olive oil however Arrabiata sauce is spicy and fiery with chili peppers.
Generally arrabbiata is a spicy sauce made with tomatoes and chili. If you're making it yourself you can adjust the heat to your own tastes.
Arrabiata can be served with either penne, linguine or spaghetti. Some people prefer the way the tomatoes cling to the penne, others prefer how it works with spaghetti. Either are delicious.
If you love pasta as much as I do, you'll love these vegan pasta recipes.
Salads to serve:
Whether you choose to serve a salad before the pasta, Italian style, or as a side dish, some greens are always a good idea to round out the meal.
Spicy Spaghetti Arrabbiata Pasta
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
- 320 g (11.29 oz) Spaghetti (use 80g dried pasta per person , or use up to 100g if everyone is super hungry!)
- salt to salt the pasta water.
For the Arrabiata Sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced. (measure the garlic with your heart. Use more if you like. )
- 2 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
- 800 g (28 oz) crushed tomatoes in tins/cans (or whole tomatoes, chop them up roughly. This is equivelant to two tins/cans.)
- 2 teaspoon chilli flakes (use more if you like it SPICY)
- 1 yellow onion (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 20 g fresh basil
- Put a large saucepan of water on the stove to boil (use a LID! It will boil faster)
- Add the olive oil, chopped onion and minced garlic into a large frying pan & sautee for a minute.4 cloves garlic, minced., 2 tablespoon olive oil, 1 yellow onion
- Add the red chili flakes and stir.2 teaspoon chilli flakes
- Add the tomatoes to the frying pan and turn the heat up a little. Rinse the tins/cans out with a little water and add that. You want the tomatoes to cook down a little. Simmer for up to 10 minutes or longer if you want a richer sauce.800 g crushed tomatoes in tins/cans, 1 teaspoon salt
- By now your water in the saucepan should be on a rolling boil. Put your dried spaghetti pasta (or whatever shape you're using) into the water, give it a stir. Most pasta takes between 8 and 10 mins to cook.320 g Spaghetti, salt to salt the pasta water.
- Keep an eye on your sauce, turn the heat down and let it simmer.
- When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain, reserving a half cup of the water. (This is emergency water!)
- Mix the pasta into the sauce it's all looking like it's a bit dry (it happens) add a splosh of the emergency water. Stir in some basil or parsley if you like.20 g fresh basil
- Serve in bowls with extra basil on top and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, vegan parmesan or pangritata (crispy breadcrumbs)
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