This Arrabbiata Sauce recipe is for the spice-seeking aficionados in your life! Made using basic pantry ingredients, this fiery sauce is ready in about 20 minutes. Serve with pasta, spread on pizza, toss meatballs, mop up with bread, a dipping sauce for appetizers, or simply with a fried egg! The possibilities are endless.
What is arrabbiata sauce? The Italian name for it is sugo all’arrabbiata, which means angry, and it refers to the generous amount of red pepper flakes, in the sauce. Originating in the city of Rome, the sauce is simple, yet elegant, made using olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, onion, and chili peppers.
This arabiata sauce recipe is from The New Cooking School Cookbook, that my family enjoys every week. It doesn't call for any gourmet ingredients, yet it is outrageously delicious served any way your heart desires. I increased the quantity of red pepper flakes because we like things fiery, like the spicy chicken pasta or Hunan Chicken.
What does arrabbiata sauce taste like? It is rich, full-bodied, and spicy with a hint of sweetness from the San Marzano tomatoes. Not a spice lover? Just decrease the red pepper flakes and you have the most amazing all-purpose sauce to serve with all things Italian!
Why this recipe works?
Crushed tomatoes bring in a long-simmered flavor without having to cook the sauce for hours. Use as much, or as little red pepper, based on your spice tolerance.
I begin by sauteing the onion and garlic in butter, which adds a rich, smooth flavor and balances out the tomatoes' acidity. The sauce is then finished with olive oil, which adds a fruity taste and also gives it a silky and smooth texture.
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Tomatoes - Canned crushed tomatoes offer great flavor and body.
- Butter - Although not traditional in tomato sauce recipes, it adds a rich, luxurious taste.
- Olive oil - I use a tablespoon to finish to give a lush mouthfeel.
- Oregano - Oregano is one of the herbs that have flavor compounds that are stable at high temperatures and are well contained within the dried leaf.
- Parsley - Use fresh or dried. If using fresh parsley, then add it along with olive oil after removing the sauce from the heat.
- Red pepper flakes- The best red pepper flakes to use in the arrabbiata sauce are dried red chili flakes, usually made from crushed cayenne peppers.
Pro tip: Use the best brand of canned crushed tomatoes, for the best-tasting arrabbiata sauce. It can vary from brand to brand and my favorite to use is Bianco Dinapoli.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
1 & 2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and oregano Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened and get a translucent color, about 3 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, dried parsley, sugar, and salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and let cook for about 12 minutes or slightly thickened.
4. Remove pan from heat and stir in olive oil. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, sugar, or red pepper flakes. Cool for a few minutes before serving!
How to serve?
The arrabbiata sauce is one of the most versatile sauce recipes that you'll ever make. Here are a few serving suggestions:
- Toss in your favorite cooked pasta. Although penne is a classic, any pasta shape with nooks, crannies, or ridges, like ziti, rigatoni, farfalle, fusilli, or spaghetti, will hold the sauce effectively.
- Serve with a crusty bread, like the Dutch oven bread to mop up all the sauce.
- With fried egg for a healthy yet satisfying breakfast.
- Spread arrabbiata sauce on your homemade pizza dough to make a spice lovers pizza at home.
- With garlic knots, no knead dinner rolls, air fryer garlic bread, fried mozzarella sticks or anything that pairs with marinara.
- Toss in your favorite homemade or store-bought meatballs. I like to stir in the air fryer chicken meatballs.
- Use the arrabbiata sauce instead of marinara in the air fryer eggplant parmesan or air fryer chicken parmesan recipe.
- Great as a dipping sauce for air fryer chicken tenders.
Storage and reheating
Make the arrabbiata sauce and allow it to cool completely, then store in an airtight container or zipper bags, in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Use good quality tomatoes. For authentic flavor, rich taste, and lower acidity use the best canned tomatoes you can find. San Marzano tomatoes or Bianco Dinapoli are some of the best types to use in the arrabbiata sauce.
- Adjust the level of spice: I use around a tablespoon of red pepper flakes in this recipe for some serious heat. Feel free to adjust based on your preference.
These two sauces are made using similar ingredients like garlic, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. However, marinara is sweeter in flavor, and arrabbiata is much spicier with red pepper flakes.
Arrabbiata sauce is generally considered moderately spicy due to the red chili pepper flakes. The level of spiciness can be adjusted to suit your individual needs.
Pasta Recipes to try
- 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes reduce or increase based on your spice tolerance
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened and gets a translucent color (about 3 minutes).
- Add tomatoes, oregano, parsley, sugar, and salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and let cook for about 12 minutes or slightly thickened.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in olive oil. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, sugar or red pepper flakes.
- Cool for a few minutes before serving!
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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