Monday, August 7, 2017

Pasta Arrabbiata

I love spice; a meal without spiciness is bland to me. If I'm eating a burger, I'll want some pickled jalapenos. I liberally sprinkle crushed pepper flakes onto pizza. I douse my eggs with hot sauce. It's a compulsion driven by the fact that so much of Korean food is spicy.

Whenever I see arrabbiata on an Italian food menu, I get excited by the description: pasta tossed in a spicy tomato sauce. But, I'm always sorely disappointed, as the spice levels are usually almost undetectable (at least to my palate). The solution, as always, is to make it at home.

Arrabbiata literally translated means angry, which means you should be adding liberal amounts of crushed pepper flakes. I like to keep the sauce super simple, limiting the whole recipe to under five ingredients (plus salt and pepper). The goal is to have the sweetness of the tomatoes shine on the taste buds before quickly being engulfed by the heat of the crushed pepper.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon crushed pepper flakes*
28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
+ 1 lb. pasta
+ fresh basil leaves

*Increase or decrease per your preference.

Start by chopping lots of garlic.
Add olive oil to a cold pan and toss in the garlic and crushed pepper.
Turn the heat on to medium and allow the oil to absorb the flavors of the garlic and pepper.
When the garlic is just starting to turn lightly golden and the oil is tinted red, add in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low.
As the tomatoes heat up, they will break down but help them out by breaking them up with a spoon. Cook the sauce for about thirty minutes or until it's lovely and thickened.
If you're an overachiever, make fresh pasta to serve in this sauce.
Toss the pasta in the sauce and sprinkle in a bit of fresh torn basil to finish it off.
The sauce is punchy and bright and spicy and it's just perfectly simple. It's a beautiful sauce that gets hotter with age (next day leftovers are amazing) and I would suggest using this sauce for eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, sausage and peppers, on pizza; basically use it anywhere you'd use a regular tomato sauce.
Here's the recipe page:

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