A rich tomato sauce with a hint of garlic, fresh basil, and a spicy kick from crushed red pepper flakes is just perfect for tossing pasta in. When we go to Italy, it’s one of our favorite sauces and we love quickly rustling it up when we get back home as it takes us back to hot Sorrento evenings, gazing out at Mount Vesuvius while tucking into quality Italian food.
Why you’ll love our arrabiata sauce
- It takes just 5 ingredients, 20 minutes to make, and is SO easy to make!
- You can batch make and then freeze it so you always have a supply for whenever you need it.
- You can use it on any kind of pasta you have in your store cupboard!
- It’s suitable for both vegetarians and vegans!
What does arrabiata mean?
Arrabiata, or arrabbiata (correct spelling), means ‘angry’ in Italian.
Why is arrabiata sauce angry? It’s the red pepper flakes that give the sauce recipe its fiery spiciness, aka angriness.
When you taste this delicious arrabiata sauce and realise just how wonderful it is, and that it takes just 20 minutes to make, you will never buy another jar of pasta sauce again. EVER.
What’s the difference between marinara sauce and arrabiata sauce?
Marinara sauce and arrabiata sauce have a lot of similarities.
They are both made with garlic sauteed in olive oil and are tomato-based sauces.
Where they differ mainly is that marinara sauce contains onion and arrabiata has more red pepper flakes in it.
Marinara is a mellow herby flavor, this arriabiata sauce recipe is hot and spicy.
What are the top Italian sauces?
There are many Italian sauces that are delicious when added to cooked pasta, here are 10 different sauces, in no particular order:
- Ragù alla Bolognese.
- Alla Norma.
- Cacio e Pepe.
- Aglio o Olio.
Which tomatoes are best to use?
We used canned tomatoes, ours are crushed tomatoes but you can use whole tomatoes.
The best type of canned tomatoes to use are sweet San Marzano
Sweet San Marzano tomatoes are grown near Mount Vesuvius, they are sweeter tomatoes because of the volcanic soil.
If you use whole tomatoes, then just gently break them up with the back of a wooden spoon as you are cooking them.
How do I make it less spicy?
It’s the crushed red pepper flakes that give arrabiata sauce its spiciness, so if you’re not a fan of spice, then you could either leave out the crushed red pepper flakes.
Or you could alternatively make a marinara sauce that doesn’t have the spice that this sauce has.
My arrabiata sauce is too runny, how do I thicken it?
If you think that your homemade sauce is too runny, then you can add tomato paste.
While cooking the sauce, add a tablespoon of tomato paste, stir it in and see if this thickens the sauce to your liking, if not, then just add more tomato paste until it’s thick enough.
We don’t use tomato paste in our spicy tomato sauce as we like the consistency.
Should I use olive oil or butter?
Traditionally arrabbiata sauce is made with olive oil, however, butter works well for this delicious pasta sauce.
To keep this spicy arrabbiata sauce vegan as well as vegetarian, we’ve stuck with traditional and used olive oil.
What can I serve it with?
Our homemade tomato sauce is so flexible, you can use it on any pasta, with a slice of nice crusty bread, as a pizza sauce, in sandwiches, in baked potatoes, as a dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks – it goes with so many different things.
Penne pasta is perfect for this sauce recipe, but you really could use any type of pasta in it.
How do I store my homemade sauce?
Your arrabiata sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
If you want to keep your spicy arrabbiata sauce for longer, then put it in freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months.
Recipe notes and tips
- Worried it’ll be too spicy?
- Add the crushed red pepper flakes slowly and taste regularly when you have stirred them into the tomato sauce.
- Want to save time in the future?
- Make a double or triple batch of arrabiata sauce and freeze it in portions in freezer bags.
- Can’t find sweet San Marzano tomatoes?
- Use the best quality canned tomatoes you can afford.
How to make quick arrabiata sauce with step by step instructions
You’ll love making our arrabbiata sauce recipe – it’s so quick and easy!
In a large pot, heat your extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, then add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for approximately 1 minute, stir to ensure the garlic doesn’t burn.
Then add your canned San Marzano tomatoes and stir to combine.
Cook for 15 minutes and stirring occasionally.
Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Serve and enjoy!
Full measurements in both US customary and metric are available in the printable recipe card below.
More vegetarian recipes for you to try
Pasta alla Norma – you’ll have clean plates all around with this delicious cheesy, creamy eggplant pasta dish!
Pasta bake with veggie meatballs – Hearty comfort food that the whole family will love!
One pot pink pasta sauce – A firm favorite in our household, cheesy, bacon flavor pasta but 100% vegetarian!
Pasta alla Sorrentina – Sweet fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves make this quick and easy pasta dish irresistible!
We hope you enjoy making our arrabiata sauce recipe and would love to hear how you got on making it.
Please leave us a comment below or feel free to ask any questions you may have – enjoy!
QUICK ARRABIATA SAUCE
- 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Cloves garlic minced
- ½ tsp Red pepper flakes
- 400 g Chopped tomatoes canned
- Basil leaves a generous handful
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, heat your extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, then add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for approximately 1 minute, stir to ensure the garlic doesn't burn2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, 2 Cloves garlic, ½ tsp Red pepper flakes
- Then add your canned San Marzano tomatoes and stir to combine400 g Chopped tomatoes
- Cook for 15 minutes and stir occasionally. Add fresh basil leaves, and season with salt and black pepper to tasteBasil leaves, Salt and pepper to taste
- Serve and enjoy!
- Worried it’ll be too spicy? Add the crushed red pepper flakes slowly and taste regularly when you have stirred them into the tomato sauce
- Want to save time in the future? Make a double or triple batch of arrabiata sauce and freeze it in portions in freezer bags
- Can’t find sweet San Marzano tomatoes? Use the best quality canned tomatoes you can afford
Learn how to make arrabiata sauce with step-by-step photos.
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