Spaghetti Arrabbiata

Spaghetti Arrabbiata with Fresh Basil & Parmesan

Angry pasta – That I am not mad about

Yes, Spaghetti Arrabbiata means Angry Spaghetti. I don’t know who could be angry about it though because it makes me reeeeeeaallly happy.

This sauce is incredibly delicious and so easy to make. It’s spicy from the crushed red pepper flakes, packed with flavour from all the garlic and rich and luscious from a lot of extra virgin olive oil. I like to top my pasta with fresh basil leaves and loads of good parmesan cheese.

Arrabbiata Ingredients

A word on tomatoes…

You can take some liberties with the type of tomatoes you use for this sauce. I’ve made it many different ways and all are good.

Here I’ve used a combination of crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and Passata. I find it gives me a good mix of rich, smooth tomato flavour and some texture because I like the little chunks of tomato. You could even throw in some fresh tomato and get the same result.

Spicy Pasta Sauce

Anything Special You Need to Know About my Spaghetti Arrabbiata?

What does Arrabbiata mean?

I like this one. It means “angry”. Angry Spaghetti. Funny because my reaction when eating it is the complete opposite of angry. It makes me very happy. πŸ™‚

What is the difference between Arrabbiata sauce and Marinara sauce?

The heat. They are very similar sauces, but Arrabbiata has a lot of heat from red pepper flakes. Marinara is mild.

What kind of tomatoes are best in Arrabbiata sauce?

I’ve made this using several different types of canned tomatoes and pretty much all are good. I’m a big fan of Passata (Italian strained tomatoes), so I often include it. Crushed tomatoes work well, and I like to add some diced tomatoes for texture. I don’t use tomato paste because I don’t think it’s necessary, but if you want to amp up the tomato flavor go for it and add in a couple tablespoons.

Spaghetti Arrabbiata

How do you make Arrabbiata sauce?

It’s really, really simple.

You’ll start with some good extra virgin olive oil, get it moderately hot and add in a good couple teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes. Add a bit less if you’re timid about heat and more if you’re feeling spicy. πŸ˜‰

Once the pepper flakes sizzle for a couple of minutes you’ll add a healthy amount of garlic. Garlic is key here, so don’t skimp (this probably shouldn’t be your meal of choice for a first date). Once the garlic cooks for a minute or two you’ll add in all your tomatoes and you’ll season the sauce.

Now you’ll let the sauce cook, over low heat, but maintaining a simmer, for about half an hour.

Taste, add salt if needed and top with fresh basil and a ridiculous amount of Parmesan cheese.

If spaghetti isn’t your jam then go ahead and mix up the pasta… penne your fave? Why not? Rigatoni your top choice? Go for it!

Want to geek out on the origin of this spicy sauce? Everything you need to know you can read here.

Spicy Arrabbiata Pasta
Spaghetti Arrabbiata

Spaghetti Arrabbiata

Spicy Spaghetti Arrabiata with fresh basil and parmesan.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes*
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 28 oz jar Italian strained tomatoes (passata)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 fresh basil leaves sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb dried spaghetti


  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet and when it’s hot add in the crushed red pepper flakes. Let cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic and let cook 1-2 minutes more.
  • Add in the tomatoes, salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a simmer and lower the heat, maintaining a low simmer. Leave to cook for about 30 minutes.
  • Taste and add more salt if needed.
  • Cook the spaghetti in salted water.
  • Drain the spaghetti and toss with the sauce.
  • Top with basil and parmesan.


*can increase or decrease by a teaspoon according to taste
Keyword Spaghetti Arrabiata
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If you like this Spaghetti Arrabiata Recipe please go try my Halloumi Pasta Recipe. It’s also easy, tasty and irresistible.

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