Arrabbiata Sauce (Spicy Tomato Sauce)

I keep thinking that today is Wednesday. Or Thursday. If either of those is true, I’m supposed to be at a meeting right now and I’ve missed a couple of story deadlines. We are gearing up for a big event at work and it’s been tough to stay on top of things, but I feel like our projects are in a good place. There’s a lot of print collateral heading out the door at high speeds. It’s been occupying a lot of space in my brain lately, and planning dinner ahead of time has been a bit of a reach this week, so I’m glad that we made a big batch of this awesome sauce that makes getting decent pasta on the table a snap. Heh. Awesome sauce.

Spicy Arrabbiata Pasta Sauce | PDXfoodlove

I read somewhere that “arrabbiata” means “angry” (and then I double-checked on Google Translate. We’re safe! It DOES mean angry). The sauce is spicy, and the heat is the inspiration for the name. The name does not, however, corroborate with how you feel when eating it. I just don’t know if I’ll ever go back to non-spicy tomato sauce.

The sauce will freeze well, or you can can it! Since it’s tomatoes, it’s on the borderline of what is safe to can in a water bath. I canned mine in a pressure canner to be safe – Dave got me one for my birthday and it is bad. Ass. I’m so excited to can things that aren’t fruit (we have so much jam right now!) Food science is awesome.

Here’s what you need to make 4 pints. Again, THIS IS QUITE SPICY. Use less of the red pepper flakes if you don’t want it to be spicy. A lot less.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 yellow onions, minced
4 lbs. tomatoes, roughly chopped – Some folks might like to seed them. I don’t really see the point in this case.
6 oz. tomato sauce
10 garlic cloves, minced
loose 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped into rough but small pieces (Do not sub dried basil. Ever! 🙂 )
loose 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped roughly but in small pieces (Subbing dried oregano is ok – go with 2 tsp. dried)
2 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 bay leaves
A whole lot of freshly ground black pepper – 20-30 grinds, depending on your taste and your grinder

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot on medium high heat, then add the onions and cook until translucent. Add in the garlic next, and cook for another minute or so.

Next, add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a full simmer. Keep the sauce at a simmer for 30 minutes or until it reaches your desired thickness. I hit mine with the immersion blender, as well, to achieve a medium-chunky consistency.

At the end of 30 minutes, you can serve it, let it cool and freeze it or can it. Remember to remove the bay leaves! I didn’t, so that will be a fun mystery surprise when we open one of my jars. Regardless, I’m looking forward to digging into this all winter! Recipe adapted from There She Grows Again.


  1. I was so excited to read about this because you’ve been name dropping it all week! Looks delish!

    Comment by Mary K — October 16, 2013 @ 9:16 am

  2. I love Arrabbiata sauce, but I’ve never made my own. This looks very delicious, so I think I will give your recipe a try. Thanks!

    Comment by Andi @ The Weary Chef — October 16, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

  3. […] Arrabiata Pasta Sauce (Recipe very slightly adapted from PDXfoodlove) […]

    Pingback by Arrabiata Pasta Sauce | Webfeet and Waffles — November 11, 2014 @ 10:12 pm

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