The Classic Arrabiata Sauce or Sugo all’arrabiata in Italian, made with sweet San Marzano tomatoes, lots of garlic and red pepper flakes! Literal translation ” the angry sauce” because of the hotness from the red chili flakes.
How to make the best, authentic Arrabiata sauce at home, from scratch!
Though it might seem as a super simple recipe at first, in order for your sauce to turn out just right you must exercise patience. Cook it on low flame and stir it gently every 10 minutes or so to make sure the sugars from the tomatoes don’t burn. Don’t rush it.
I have to say: the most important thing you can do when making Italian sauce, is to use imported San Marzano Tomatoes and fresh red pepper flakes with attitude!
The reason is simply because they are grown in the volcanic soils in the San Marzano region of Italy, so they will be extra sweet and flavorful, not acidic and watery. Once those cook down and thicken up, you will have an explosion of sweet flavors in every bite.
The dry red pepper flakes is what makes the sauce spicy, so it is extra important to use a fresh good quality variety. To make it less spicy just use less red pepper flakes, pretty self explanatory right ? 😉
To thicken your sauce gently simmer it away until it reduces to your liking.
What to serve with:
- Shrimp (spaghetti frutti di mare)
- Eggplant Lasagna
- Ricotta gnocchi
- Eggs in Purgatory
- Penne Pasta
- Sauteed Peppers and Onions
- Anchovies, Capers and Olives (Puttanesca Style)
- Grilled Chicken
- Use it as Pizza Sauce
- Ricotta Meatballs
Wanna make a marinara sauce instead ? No problemo!
Simply leave out the red pepper flakes from this recipe and there you have it. Simple as that. One sauce is spicy, the other one is not.
- 1 medium yellow onion minced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes + more to your taste buds
- 2 X 28 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes whole
- 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- sea salt to taste
- 15 leaves basil torn
- 1 lb penne pasta or spaghetti
- In a large heavy bottom cast iron pan heat up the olive oil and saute the onion with a pinch of sea salt until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and let it cook only for a few seconds until you can smell it and doesn’t get any color on it.
- In a large bowl crush the tomatoes with your hands but leave a few smaller chunks in there. Transfer them to the pot with the onions and garlic and brig to a simmer. Add the bay leaf and partially cover with a lid. Allow the sauce to simmer away on low flame for about 1 hour until thick and concentrated in flavor. Make sure to stir often, every 10 minutes or so, making sure the sugars in the tomatoes do not burn.
- Turn off the flame and season to your taste with the sea salt. Stir in the fresh basil leaves and finish it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with pasta or meats or some fresh crusty bread.
- Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season with sea salt, you want this to taste like sea water. Cook the penne pasta or spaghetti until al dente, according to the directions on the package. Toss to coat well in the arrabiata sauce and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and extra red pepper flakes.
To keep the sauce as a rustic Marinara, simply leave out the red pepper flakes.