Arrabbiata, spicy, pungent, biting, delicious Arrabbiata…..which literally translates to “angry” in reference to it being a hot head of a sauce. This sauce is one of the many easy ways to adapt the basic sugo di pomodoro into something entirely different, a sauce for those days when you need some added zing in your life, or maybe to make you sweat and cool down from a hot day. Whatever the reason, this super easy and quick spin on tomato sauce will have your nose running and belly warm. Now you could just toss some chile flakes into your tomato sauce and call it donesies, but *yawn* how boring. A few extra minutes to add some extra stuff will really make things sing, so don’t be *yawn* be *hell yeah!*
1.5kg/950ml | 1 quart of sugo di pomodoro (or 1 qt of canned tomato sauce)
40g | ¼ cup finely chopped onion
10g | 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
32g | 3 Tbsp finely chopped red bell pepper
9g/10ml | 2 tsp olive oil
1-2g | ½-1 tsp crushed red pepper
1.5g | 4 arbol chiles, caps/stems removed
30g/ml | 2 Tbsp shaoxing cooking wine
2g | 1 ½ tsp italian seasoning
2.5g | 1 ½ tsp italian or greek oregano
Sautee onion, garlic, and bell pepper in olive oil over medium-high heat, just until garlic starts to brown
Add in arbol chiles and continue to cook until garlic is golden brown
Add in wine to deglaze pan, then add in remaining
Bring to a light boil/hard simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes
Turn off heat and allow sauce to sit on burner for another 5 minutes
You can remove chiles or leave them in, and serve
Will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days and frozen for 3 months
The ingredients are pretty straight forward and you probably have them on hand (or can pick them up quick enough.) It starts with sugo di pomodoro, which you CAN sub with whatever basic plain jane tomato sauce you want, but don’t. To that we toss in some red bell pepper for richness and a little sweetness to help balance the heat and add depth, onion for texture and sweetness and enhances the tomato flavour further, garlic for zest, crushed red pepper AND arbol chiles for heat. Shaoxing wine (you can use cooking sherry if you need to) to bring out even more flavour from the tomatoes (alcohol helps extract certain aromatic flavour components in tomatoes) and to bring in a light bit of nuttiness. Finally, we have extra italian seasoning and greek oregano, because, yes. We want this to be an intense sauce, but still light, the herbs help to bring things back up a notch and keep it from being heavy.
The onion, garlic,and bell pepper get sauteed with the olive oil over medium-high heat (make sure to stir quite a bit) just until you start to see some brown edges on the garlic, when you do, through in you arbol chiles and crushed red pepper, this will help to toast the chiles a little and help to bloom their flavours. If you want a milder sauce, use the lesser amount of crushed red pepper OR you can leave it out, but keep the arbol chiles, they add more flavour than the flakes and really help to make this version extra yum. Once your garlic is golden brown, deglaze the pan with your wine, and then toss in the remaining ingredients, bring it up to a hard simmer/light boil and reduce the heat to maintain a light simmer and cook for 15 minutes. The goal is to finish softening the onion and pepper, and reduce the sauce, we don’t want to caramelise the tomatoes too much here, they should remain bright and red, no brick brown tones here. After cooking, simply turn off the heat and allow it sit on the burner for another five minutes to continue thickening a little. This sauce should be pretty thick. You can remove the arbol pods or leave them in and pick out as you go, you won’t wanna eat them, they’re kinda tough and very hot.
You can switch this up in many different ways, you can add thyme for more herbal notes, fresh basil for a delightful play on sweet and summery with heat, you can toss in some mushroom granules or anchovy paste for a richer heartier sauce….the possibilities are endless. This also makes a fantastic sauce for lasagna or other baked pastas, just skip the simmering and use it directly after mixing everything in the pan. As a last suggestion, it’s crazy good with some cream thrown in, giving you a beautiful pink creamy, spicy, tomato sauce….it’s just totally nom.