Remember when I used to share recipes on this blog? No? Yeah, it’s been awhile. I could make a lot of excuses for that or I could just get to business. I’m choosing to get down to it. For the last month, I’ve been perfecting a pasta arrabiata sauce recipe. Abbabiata means angry. The angry pasta. There’s nothing angry about this pasta, but it does have a bit of a kick to it. Why pasta arrabiata? Because I’ve made this sauce with penne, ravioli, and tortellini. It’s all been delicious. The best part about this recipe, however, is that it is easy. It’s so easy that anyone can do it.
Before I jump right into the recipe, I want to plug one of my former student’s blogs. Sara (yes, we share a name) is studying in Florence through a year-long cooking program. You can read her blog for more delicious insights on what she’s learning inside and out of the classroom. (There’s a pesto recipe on this post that needs to be in my life.) She’s also @CagleCooks on instagram where she shares her mouthwatering creations. The reason I mention this is because it’s through Sara that I learned the proper water to salt to pasta ratio. Chef, as she calls him, would be so proud to know that Americans everywhere (or maybe just me) are learning how to properly to cook pasta.
The correct ratio is 1 liter of water to 7 grams of salt for 100 grams of pasta.
If you speak American, that’s a little over 4 cups of water to a little over 2 tablespoons of salt to 1 box of pasta.
(See why it’s better to use a kitchen scale to measure things? I’m learning so much already.)
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Pasta Arrabiata Recipe
This is one of Tom’s favorite things to order in Italy. (We’ve even found a delightful version of it in the Czech Republic.) He loves the fresh flavors and spicy kick from the red pepper. (This is a man who puts red pepper in his eggs.) When I used 5-10 grams of red pepper flakes, it was too hot for him. The longer you let the sauce simmer, the more spicy it becomes. If you want a thinner sauce, you can cook the sauce 20 minutes.
As I said above, you can use any pasta with this recipe, but I recommend using a pasta with texture. Penne works best for grabbing the sauce. My second favorite pasta to use is Aldi’s ravioli. (All ingredients are from Aldi. In the words of Tom, “if Aldi doesn’t have it, you don’t need it.”) I would use the ravioli if you want to serve this as a dinner party. It presents well and has excellent flavor. The tortellini is good, but Tom and both agreed that the sauce overpowered the pasta flavors.
I’ve used various recipes from the cookbooks below to perfect this sauce. I’ve also experimented with different types of tomatoes. This is the recipe that worked best for us, in our kitchen, in Texas.
If you want to add some bread to your table, this Italian herb focaccia recipe is great for soaking up that extra arrabiata sauce!
Pasta Arrabiata Recipe
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 teaspoons of minced garlic (6-8 cloves of fresh garlic run through a garlic press)
- 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 14oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes (you can also use the basil, garlic, and herb diced tomatoes)
- 3 grams of red pepper flakes (if you prefer your sauce with more of a spicy-hot kick, add 5-10 grams of red pepper flakes)
- 10 grams of kosher salt
- Over medium-low heat, warm up olive oil in a large sauce pan.
- Add garlic and stir frequently until garlic is light brown.
- Increase heat to medium and add tomatoes. Bring to a slow boil. Add red pepper flakes and salt, mixing thoroughly.
- Turn down heat to simmer/low, let sauce cook for 30 minutes, stirring infrequently.
- Serve over fresh pasta.