Pasta/ Sauces

Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce

Arrabbiata sauce

Arrabbiata – an Italian pasta sauce that translates to ‘angry’ sauce. It’s a spicy tomato sauce that’s filled with garlic and red chillies.

This is hands down my favourite pasta sauce of all time. In fact it’s safe to say that this is my entire family’s favourite pasta sauce as well. We love spice, and the more garlic in a dish, the better. This hits the spot when it comes to a fiery pasta sauce and we literally can’t get enough. This is probably the pasta sauce I make the most, I even end up using this arrabbiata sauce for my pizzas. It’s great as a crust dipper and amazing with garlic bread.

You know what, forget dunking your mozzarella sticks in marinara or ketchup, dunk them in this arrabbiata sauce – trust me.

What is an arrabbiata sauce?

It’s a sauce that allegedly originated from Rome that’s made from tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and red chillies. Hence the main differences between arrabbiata and marinara is the use of the red chillies.

It can be served with any pasta, though the most common one I tend to see is penne.

My take on an arrabbiata goes slightly off track with a couple of different ingredients and steps, but honestly it’s worth it. This adds even more flavour and depth and my little trick will enhance the spice even further.

There is always a method to the madness over here on DbR – and I assure you I wouldn’t put in an additional step for no reason. But this is worth it.

Arrabbiata sauce

What you’ll need

  • Olive oil- essential so try and use your favourite bottle or one that packs a lot of flavour
  • Tomatoes – I use San Marzano tins of tomatoes which I purchase online. They’re sweeter and less acidic and make a huge difference to the arrabbiata sauce. My personal opinion would be to say that San Marzano is essential, however if you can’t get hold of it, use any tin of tomatoes you enjoy and add additional sugar for sweetness
  • Fresh red chillies – I prefer fresh over dried, we’ll be roasting these and you can’t do that with dried chilli flakes
  • Garlic – and a lot of garlic!
  • Banana shallot – milder form of a white onion that adds sweetness when cooked. If you can’t get a hold of this then substitute with 1 small white onion
  • Tomato paste – this is a concentrated paste that often comes in a tube. This helps increase the tomato flavour and slightly thicken the sauce
  • Sugar – will help to balance the spice
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Fresh basil – always my choice of herb for tomato pasta sauces, adds sweetness and freshness
San marzano
San Marzano tomatoes


A kitchen blow torch – these can be purchased inexpensively online and a really handy gadget to keep on hand for charring or flaming

Process shots

Arrabbiata sauce

Arrabbiata Sauce

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • Kitchen blowtorch or gas hob



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tins San Marzano tomatoes/ good quality tinned plum tomatoes (800g total)
  • 2 fresh red chillies
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 banana shallot/1 small white onion halved
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh basil
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling


  • Method:
  • Preheat oven to 180’C fan/200’C conventional
  • Firstly we want to roast and char the aromatics and there are two ways to do this:
  • If using a gas hob, pierce each aromatic on a fork/skewer and hold over the open flame until charred, then toss lightly in oil and roast for 10 mins to soften
  • Or my preferred method, toss lightly in 1tbsp oil, roast for 10 mins to soften, then blow torch until charred
  • Pulse the charred shallot, garlic, and chillies, along with 1tbsp oil through a food processor until finely minced (I don’t take the charred chilli skin off, but you can if it bothers you!)
  • Sauté the minced aromatics in another tbsp of oil for around 1-2 minutes until fragrant
  • Add in tomato puree and continue to sauté for a further minute
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and half of your basil
  • Simmer for 30 mins on medium-low heat, and roughly mash your tomatoes half way into the cooking time
  • Finish with the remaining basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil


When boiling your pasta, drain it when it’s a minute from being al dente, and add to your sauce along with a good splash of the pasta cooking water and continue to cook. This will allow your sauce to emulsify and prevent your pasta from over cooking.
Keyword arabbiata, arrabbiata, arrabiata, pasta, pasta sauce, spicy, vegetarian

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  • Reply
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    […] are countless pasta dishes and sauces that I’m genuinely in love with. Including my Arrabbiata and Garlic Chilli Cacio e Pepe. But even a simple, classic basil pesto can be a total delight. […]

  • Reply
    Rachel Kemp
    December 22, 2022 at 3:02 pm

    5 stars
    This is a fave in our house and is my go to pasta sauce recipe. Goes well with roasted veg too.

    • Reply
      December 22, 2022 at 3:08 pm

      Thank your for your kind review Rachel, means the world to know you guys are enjoying this one. The roasted veg sounds like an incredible addition!

  • Reply
    Amrit Kaur
    December 22, 2022 at 3:35 pm

    5 stars
    We like our spices and this was absolutely perfect for my family and I. Thank you for creating an easy to follow recipe for such a delicious dish.

    • Reply
      December 23, 2022 at 1:25 pm

      Thank you so much Amrit! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 22, 2022 at 4:25 pm

    5 stars
    Love this recipe. So much flavour. Particularly like the idea of roasting the garlic and chillis on the hob, great idea!

    • Reply
      December 22, 2022 at 6:21 pm

      Cheers for that! I’m glad you enjoyed that step too, it adds a little extra smokiness which just creates extra depth. I love charring anything I can when it comes to spicy dishes 🙂

  • Reply
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    January 20, 2023 at 2:43 am

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