Pasta all’Arrabbiata

Pasta all’Arrabbiata

Literally translating as ‘angry pasta’, pasta all’arrabbiata
is all hot and bothered because of its bright-red sauce,
a spicy mix of tomatoes, garlic and hot chilli flakes.

Italians have been cooking pasta for nearly a millennium. It is likely that it was brought to Sicily by Arab traders (not, as popular legend has it, imported by Marco Polo from China!), and since then an unknown number of pasta recipes have been developed. Pasta all’arrabbiata is one that is especially associated with the lusty, earthy cuisine of Rome, though you can find it on menus and in domestic cucinas nationwide.

You’ll need
1 medium onion, peeled and
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and
¼ cup (60mL) olive oil
400g (14oz) tinned tomatoes,
½ tsp red chilli flakes
500g (1lb) dry pasta (penne or
Salt to taste
100g (3½oz) pecorino cheese,

Cooking Method
1 Over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in half of the oil until golden.
2 Add the tomatoes and chilli and bring to a simmer.
3 Meanwhile, cook the pasta until it is al dente, then drain.
4 Stir the remaining oil into the tomato mixture, season with salt to taste and pour over the pasta.
5 Serve with freshly grated cheese.

Tasting notes
Look for pasta all’arrabbiata in Rome’s neighbourhood trattoria, where rustic dishes are accompanied by a carafe or two of house Chianti. The beauty of the dish is in its simplicity: al-dente pasta in a light, bright sauce of garlicky tomatoes, studded with tongue-numbing dried red chilli flakes. A hearty plateful will keep you full for hours. Pasta all’arrabbiata is also a popular home-cooked meal, the kind of thing your nonna throws together in 20 minutes on a Monday evening. If you’re lucky enough to befriend a few locals, perhaps you’ll also be lucky enough to be invited to supper – they’ll supply the pasta, you bring the vino.

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