Spaghetti arrabiata is a classic Italian dish with a spicy flavor perfect for a cozy and romantic date. An easy pasta recipe made just with tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and red chilli peppers flakes.
This spaghetti arrabiata can be served along with my delicious Italian stuffed meatballs, the two pair so well together. To complete the dinner serve this incredible Italian almond cake with caramelized apricot for a sweet ending. If you are in the mood for more Italian recipes try my pasta dish as my authentic amatriciana sauce, pink sauce recipe, or pasta with ricotta and lemon.
I know how hard it is sometimes to meet all the needs of your guests or family, especially when they follow different diets. This spaghetti arrabiata recipe comes in handy as it is perfect for those who have a vegan, vegeterian or sugar-free lifestyle. Also, it's a great all around dish as it doesn't follow the seasonal produce, as it uses canned tomatoes.
Why you'll love spaghetti arrabiata
A few ingredients- Tomatoes, garlic, red dry chilli flakes, and extra virgin olive oil are the only ingredients you need. Don't be tricked by the short ingredient list, this dish is packed with flavor that will satisfy your palate.
Spicy hot- The red chilli peppers elevate the tomato sauce giving a rich and full body sauce.
A true Italian recipe- Whatever you have been to Italy or you want to taste an authentic pasta arrabiata this is the recipe you need.
Budget-friendly- This spaghetti arrabiata recipe is made with low-coast ingredients but it will not affect the taste.
What is spaghetti arrabiata?
Spaghetti arrabiata is a popular Italian dish, its origin goes back to Ponte Alto a beautiful village in the heart of the Lazio region. Rumor has it that the chili was added by Calabrian families who moved to this village for work in the mines. As you can imagine, they were bringing their chilies as it was always been a key ingredient in Calabrian cuisine.
Arrabiata sauce is a simple and peasant meal, made by cooking the sauce with olive oil, garlic, chilli, and tomatoes on slow heat for almost 3 hours. However, with the increase in bills, it can be quite expensive to do so. Therefore I tasted this pasta sauce with less amount cooking time and still tastes fantastic.
SPAGHETTI ARRABIATA INGREDIENTS
The success of a delicious pasta arrabiata lay in the quality of the ingredients. For this reason, I have explained in detail what to look for.
Oil- Use good extra virgin olive oil as it is an important addition to any Italian dish. I can't imagine any tomato sauce or Italian recipes made without a good extra virgin olive oil.
Garlic- Regular garlic is a must, try not to use powder or brined garlic as it doesn't taste good. The Garlic can be sauté chopped or whole, is up to your preference. Either way, it will work just fine.
Chilies- Use dried chilies as the authentic recipe. The level of spice is medium hot, however, if you prefer more spice you can up the number of chilli flakes. I recommend tasting the sauce and add more to your liking.
Tomatoes- The traditional pasta arrabiata uses San Marzano tomatoes in the can along with its juices. Be sure to buy the San Marzano with DOP certification, this will guarantee its authenticity. These tomatoes are lower in acidity and have a sweet and richer flavor that makes them perfect for this sauce.
Spaghetti- Spaghetti works wonderfully with this sauce, however, the authentic recipe calls for penne rigate. Still, you can use any kind of shape texture pasta that traps the condiment. My favorite pasta to try with this recipe are rigatoni, fusilli, spaghetti, and bucatini.
Cheese- This is optional but recommended. Serve the spaghetti arrabiata with a generous grated of Pecorino Romano. Its slightly tangy, almost spicy taste will elevate this dish. Buy DOP Pecorino Romano with black skin, which guarantees its authenticity. Alternatively, if you are vegan just use a vegan Parmesan.
STEP-BY-STEP TO MAKE SPAGHETTI ARRABIATA
*Note: this is just a quick introduction. Please read the recipe card for the full instructions.
The steps are incredibly easy to follow. So make a glass of your favorite red wine or turn on the music and start cooking this incredible spaghetti arrabiata.
Add the garlic, the oil, and the red chilli flakes to a saucepan. Let it cook for a few minutes, don't let it burn.
Add the tomatoes
Crush* the San Marzano tomatoes with your hand in a medium bowl.
*Note: Don't use a kitchen blender as we are after rough texture.
Add the tomatoes and the salt into the saucepan. Simmer* the sauce for one hour, and stir often. Add the spaghetti to the sauce, mix it to combine, and serve it when still hot.
*Tip: The sauce may splash around the worktop, to prevent it cover the saucepan with a lid.
Tips for a better spaghetti arrabiata
Cooking time- The more it cooks on the stove and the more it builds its unique flavor and texture. I suggest you let it cook at least for 1 hour.
Quality ingredients- The key to a better spaghetti arrabiata is to choose the best quality ingredients you can afford. That is true, especially for those recipes where the list of ingredients is short and quality will impact the flavor. Alternatively, just use a good quality extra virgin olive oil and Italian DOP San Marzano tomatoes. Always read the label to make sure you are buying genuine Italian products.
SPAGHETTI ARRABIATA VARIATION/SUGGESTIONS
Next time make just the arrabiata condiment and skip the spaghetti. Here are few ideas to try:
As a dip- Add this condiment next to the cheese or charcuterie board, it will make a great arrabiata dipping for breadsticks, pizza bowls, and warm flatbread.
As a sauce pizza- Spread the sauce on the pizza before cooking it in the oven, and remove the garlic. Before serving top the pizza with some fresh burrata cheese, a few basil leaves, and a few drops of olive oil. Or alternatively, once ready top the pizza with some salami.
As a starter- Serve it as warm bruschetta. Top a slice of bread with some sauce from this delicious spaghetti arrabiata and a few crumbs of feta cheese. Bake it in a hot oven until the feta is starting to melt.
As a party food- Top the nachos with the arrabiata condiment along with cheese and bake them until the cheese is melted. Before serving add some sliced avocado, fresh chilli, and cilantro.
As a brunch- Use it to make scrambled eggs. Warm up the condiment in a frying pan on low heat. Then add the eggs previously beaten. Stir with a wooden spoon to scramble them. Cook for a couple of minutes and serve it with a toasted slice of bread and a handful of grated Pecorino Romano or vegan cheese.
Use it with vegetables- Spread some of the arrabiata condiment on top of a slice of grilled eggplant or zucchini. Place on top of the sauce a slice of mozzarella cheese. Roll each slice and place them on a baking sheet. Spread the rolls with the remaining sauce and a handful of grated of Parmigiano Reggiano and a few basil leaves. Bake at 400°f or 200°c until the cheese is starting to melt.
Use a medium bowl to crush the San Marzano tomatoes with your hand. Any medium bowl will work great.
A saucepan or a dutch oven is essential to make the spaghetti arrabiata. The high side of the saucepan and the use of the lid will make sure no messy splash on the worktop or stove. Meaning less time spent on cleaning.
To stir the arrabiata condiment and the spaghetti use a wooden spatula. The wooden spoon will make sure that no scratches are left in the saucepan or dutch oven. Also, it is great even in high temperatures.
I am a big fan of double-batching the recipes, which means that you will have more food for the next meal. Equals more time for you and less time spent on the stove. Here I have listed a few options in case you have double-batch the sauce arrabiata or in case you have any spaghetti pasta leftovers to store.
Fridge- Store the sauce or the leftover in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days once are cool off. Reheat the sauce in a frying pan on low heat until warm. Reheat the spaghetti arrabiata into a medium frying pan on low heat and add little water to cream up the dish.
Freezer- Cool off the sauce or the leftover, once cooled store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost both in the fridge for 12 hours, and reheat the sauce in a frying pan on low heat until warm. While reheat the spaghetti in a medium frying pan with a bit of water for a few minutes.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SPAGHETTI ARRABIATA
Yes, absolutely. Make sure to know the spicy level of the fresh chilli. I recommend using mild fresh chilli as it will not cover the taste of the sauce. The level of spiciness is usually written on the package. Use two small and long red fresh chillies, chopped into rings. Also, before adding more chilli taste first the condiment, to ensure you are not adding too much heat.
Yes, of course. You can definitely make the tomato sauce in advance then reheat it with a bit of water until warm. Once is warm turn the heat off and add the cooked spaghetti.
Yes, of course. You can add some chopped fresh parsley at the very end before serving the dish. However, the authentic pasta arrabiata doesn't call for any herbs.
Yes, spaghetti arrabiata is totally vegan. In this recipe, there isn't any meat involved. However, you will find some grated Pecorino Romano to sprinkle on top before serving the pasta. It can be swapped with vegan cheese: vegan Parmesan cheese or vegan Pecorino. If you are not a lover of vegan cheese just serve the pasta on its own.
Both recipes use tomato sauce as a base. However, spaghetti amatriciana contains meat (guanciale) and onion.
More Italian recipes
If you are looking for more pasta and true Italian recipes make sure to check this list.
- 1 Medium saucepan or dutch oven along with the lid. Use pans with a high base.
- 1 Wooden spoon
- 4 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- 800 gr (2 cans; 28 oz) San Marzano tomatoes DOP along with the juices
- 2 teaspoon Maldon salt
- 320 gr spaghetti
- 4 tablespoon pasta water
- 1 handful grated Pecorino Romano or vegan cheese
- Crush the San Marzano tomatoes with your hand in a medium bowl, for a few seconds, until you have a rough texture. Don't use a kitchen blender as it will make the sauce too liquidy and it will ruin the final result of the sauce.
- Add the garlic, the olive oil, and the red chilli flakes to a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and let me sauté for a few minutes until the garlic is turning golden but is not burning. Stir often with a wooden spoon.
- Add the tomatoes and the salt into the saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon. The sauce may splash around the worktop, to prevent it cover the saucepan with a lid. Let the sauce simmer for 1 hour at medium-low heat and stir often. The sauce is done when is thickened and has a rough texture.
- Cook the spaghetti according to the pack. Before draing the pasta, remember to reserve some pasta water. A few spoons will be enough.
- Add the drained pasta and the pasta water into the sauce. Give it a mix to combine, and serve it when still hot with a handful of grated Pecorino Romano.