A Roma style pasta with an angry bite!
Literally, Arrabbiata Sauce translates to angry sauce. Arrabbiata tomato sauce is spiced up with hot chile pepper and this pasta is popular in Rome. Traditionally a handful of grated parmesan cheese is stirred into the sauce to finish the sauce.
Crushed red pepper or pizzeria red pepper is best for this recipe. Many second rate diners and franchise chain restaurants add chopped peperoncini or chopped Greek pepper to cheap canned tomato sauce and call that arrabbiata. Most of the chefs at those kind of restaurants cannot even spell arrabbiata correctly. I avoid those kind of restaurants all together.
Many Italian chefs that have restaurants in regions where spicy food is not popular in America, like white hair retirement areas in Florida and Amish country, do use milder peperoncini to make arrabbiata rather than crushed red pepper. That is okay in that situation. In mainstream regions, peperoncini is not a good choice of pepper, because customers expect the real thing. Peperoncini adds a pickled pepper flavor that is not desirable and peperoncini is not spicy enough. Arrabbiata is supposed to be the angry pasta!
In recent years, basil has been omitted in this sauce by some chefs, so the sauce gains an even bolder flavor. If you choose to use basil in this sauce, like I did for this recipe, then you can make a salsa pomodoro con basilico (Tomato Basil Sauce) to start your arrabbiata.
Bucatini pasta is like a thick spaghetti noodle that has a thin hollow center. Bucatini is perfect for this sauce.
Salsa di Pomodoro con Basilico Recipe (Tomato Basil Sauce):
This recipe makes 5 to 6 portions of sauce! This sauce is made with the same Italian cooking method that is used to make marinara.
Heat 10 ounces of olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
Add 5 very finely chopped garlic cloves.
Add 3/4 cup of minced onion.
Cook till the garlic turns a light golden color.
Add a 28oz can of imported Italian plum tomato puree.
Place a 28oz can of imported Italian peeled seeded San Marzano plum tomatoes packed in their own juices into a mixing bowl.
Squeeze and crush the tomatoes in the mixing bowl by hand.
Add the San Marzano plum tomatoes and their own juices to the sauce.
Stir the sauce often as it reaches a simmering temperature.
Pluck the leaves off of 1 small bunch of basil. (About 20 to 25 basil leaves is enough.)
Add the basil leaves to the sauce. (It may seem like a lot of basil but the leaves will wilt into the sauce.)
Add sea salt and black pepper.
When the sauce starts to bubble and simmer, reduce the temperature to low heat.
Stir the olive oil that separates from the tomatoes back into the sauce once every five minutes.
Note: The rule of thumb is to stir a tomato sauce once every five minutes. The olive oil will become part of the sauce after the sauce is done simmering and reducing. Without enough olive oil, a tomato sauce may end up looking like stewed tomatoes instead of glistening perfect Italian tomato sauce.
Simmer the sauce very slowly over low heat for about 1 hour, till the sauce becomes a medium thin tomato sauce consistency.
Set the sauce aside.
Just like a marinara sauce, tomato basil sauce should be reheated to order!
Bucatini Arrabbiata Recipe:
Cook 1 portion of bucatini in boiling water, till it becomes al dente. Wait to start the sauce, till the bucatini is halfway cooked!
Heat about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of the tomato basil sauce in a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add 1 to 3 teaspoons of crushed red pepper. (Pizzaria style crushed dried hot red pepper or crushed red pepper is actually chile caribe pepper. Chile caribe is medium hot on the chile pepper heat range scale.)
Add 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh toscano hot pepper. (Optional. Toscano pepper is a mild to medium hot yellow or red pepper. Pickled toscano pepper adds an undesirable pickle flavor, so use fresh if they are available.)
Simmer the sauce till the peppers become part of the sauce and the spicy flavor melds.
Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
When the bucatini pasta becomes cooked al dente, drain the water off of the pasta.
Add 4 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese to the sauce while stirring.
Add 1 tablespoon of chopped Italian parsley to the arrabbiata sauce.
Add the cooked bucatini pasta to the sauce in the pan.
Toss the sauce and pasta together.
Use a long tine carving fork to place the pasta on a plate.
Pour any excess sauce over the pasta.
Sprinkle a little bit of grated parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley over the pasta.
Garnish with a parsley sprig.
Serve with Italian bread or garlic bread on the side.
The amount of hot chile pepper in this sauce is a personal choice, but this sauce is meant to be picante. Do not go too light on the amount of hot chile pepper!
The flavor of the very rich basil tomato sauce, peppers and parmesan cheese is so very yummy! Having fresh basil in the sauce does round the sharp hot pepper flavors. Without basil, arrabbiata is very sharp and spicy hot.
Bucatini pasta holds this rich sauce very nicely. Arrabbiata is one of my favorite Italian sauces. Arrabbiata is the spicy angry one! Ciao baby! ... Shawna