1medium-size red onionfinely chopped (½ cup approx.)
5garlic clovesi.e 1 tablespoon minced
1teaspooncayenneOR crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to your spice level)
1can (28 fl ounce) San Marzano crushed tomatoes, OR equivalent, see notes
Salt & pepper to taste 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend
A handful of fresh basiltorn
¼cupfreshly grated parmesan or Romano cheeseoptional
8ouncesuncooked pasta of choice
Heat oil in a wide bottom pan.
Once warm add in the chopped onions and sprinkle some salt over it.
Cook for 2 minutes on medium heat or until they are wilted and translucent.
Now add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring occasionally.
Reduce the heat and add in crushed tomatoes and all the remaining ingredients except cheese and basil leaves.
Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Simultaneously cook the pasta as directed and reserve some pasta water to thin out the sauce if needed.
Back to making the sauce. Now uncover and add in cheese and basil.
Give it a stir and cook for a minute.
Add 3-4 tablespoons reserved pasta water to the sauce if needed.
Taste the sauce carefully and adjust seasoning if desired.
Store the sauce as directed.
This recipe makes approximately 4 cups of sauce.Use as required and store the leftover sauce.Refer to the post for the Instant Pot method.Sugar is used to cut the tartness of tomatoes.Use any pasta of your choice.Gluten-free works too.My personal favorite is penne, whole-grain spaghetti, or gluten-free spaghetti with this arrabiata sauce.
What tomatoes to use –
Use good quality canned tomatoes preferably “Made in Italy” for authentic flavor.However, if it is unavailable substitute with good local brand crushed tomato.You may use finely chopped tomato or a can of whole tomatoes too.The whole tomatoes will have to be cooked a little long in its juices for an extra 15 minutes. Smash it down with a potato masher.If you wish to use fresh tomatoes then the cooking time will be almost double to cook the tomatoes through.Add a bit of tomato paste to thicken the sauce as well as increase the intensity of the tomato flavor in the overall pasta sauce. Skip if unavailable.
Spices and flavoring
Fresh basil leaves add a lot of flavors. If unavailable use dried ones.Garlic, I mean lots of minced garlic adds a good flavor to this pasta dish,Use dried crushed red chili flakes, cayenne, or paprika depending on how much heat you can handle.Crushed black pepper, dried Italian herbs, salt, and a bit of sugar is needed too.
Topping any Italian recipe with cheese just pulls all the flavors together.Add some freshly grated parmesan or Romano cheese on the top after the pasta is served.I have used vegetarian Stella parmesan cheese here.
Storing prepared pasta sauce
Any leftover sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and freezer for a month.You can make a big batch of this sauce and can it as well.
How to cook pasta right each and every time?
Soft, overly cooked, and mushy pasta is a big turn off for me.
Pasta should be cooked al dente. The best way is to check your package for timings and following it.
Add the pasta only after the water comes to a rolling boil.
Once you add the pasta, start a timer and you will never lose track of time.
Once the timer goes off check pasta with a fork, taste it. It should have a bite to it.
Immediately drain all the water reserving a cup or so for the sauce if desired. (Highly recommended)
The starch from the pasta sauce works great to thicken the pasta sauce.
Never rinse the pasta or coat it with oil if you are tossing it immediately with sauce and serving.
Important tips to make the best Pasta Arrabiata
Use good quality tomatoes. (I cannot stress enough on this point)
Adjust the red pepper to your spice level.
You may reserve less spicy sauce for kids and add more crushed pepper for adults later.
You can make the sauce way ahead of time. Refer to storing instructions below.
Cooking pasta just before serving is recommended.
If you plan to cook the pasta ahead of time cook it 1 minute less than al dente.
Coat it with olive oil and set it aside only if it is made hours before serving.
Once the sauce and pasts are ready, keep it in separate containers.
Do not mix them until everyone sits on the dinner table.
Pasta tends to absorb all the sauce if it is mixed more than 20 minutes in advance making it all soggy.