Spaghetti arrabiata is an incredibly easy yet super tasty dish that's fiery and full of flavour. You only need a handful of ingredients to make the best arrabiata sauce that's naturally vegan and easy to customize.
Arrabiata is a spicy Italian sauce with a tomato base. The name "arrabiata" translates to "angry" in English because the sauce is typically made with chopped red chilli or hot pepper flakes, which contribute heat to the dish.
There are countless Arrabiata recipes out there, and since the sauce is quite easy to customize, everyone who loves pasta generally has their own version of it.
Some arrabiata recipes are vegan and some are vegetarian because they're made with pecorino or parmesan — just something to keep in mind for eating out.
What do you need to make arrabiata sauce?
You only need a handful of ingredients to make the best arrabiata sauce. As with most Italian sauce recipes, there are lots of variations of arrabiata out there. Some of them have onion and some don't. I chose to add a finely diced red onion, but you can skip it if you want.
Pasta — Arrabiata is typically made with penne, but I love how the sauce works with spaghetti, so that's what I almost always use. The good news is that you can basically use whatever type of pasta you want with arrabiata — it's such a versatile sauce!
Olive oil — You need three tablespoons of olive oil for this spaghetti arrabiata recipe, which may sound like a lot, but it's really not. The oil is basically the base of the sauce, just like it is in spaghetti Aglio e olio, so it's important to use a quality one.
Red onion — You can skip this if you want, but I find the onion adds some extra depth to the sauce.
Garlic — Fresh garlic is an essential ingredient in arrabiata and you can slice it or mince to suit your taste. I personally like to find larger chunks in the sauce.
Chilli — You can make arrabiata sauce with dry red chilli, red chilli flakes from a jar or fresh red chilli. I like it best with fresh red chilli. Don't overdo it with the chilli unless you can handle a very fiery sauce.
Tomatoes — Whole tomatoes that you crush by hand are best for arrabiata. San Marzano are an excellent choice, but if you can't get your hands on them, use the best quality tomatoes you can instead.
How do you make spaghetti arrabiata?
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it generously and cook the spaghetti al dente according to the instructions on the package. Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and cook the onion for 3-4 minutes over medium heat until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and red chilli and continue to cook for another minute. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened.
- Toss the cooked spaghetti with the sauce and add just a dash of pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
Extra recipe tips
- Spaghetti arrabiata is best served as soon as it's ready. It will keep well in the fridge for up to three days and can be reheated in the microwave.
- If you want to freeze arrabbiata, freeze just the sauce. That way, you can defrost it and make a great batch of pasta using freshly cooked spaghetti.
- Don't add any oil to the pasta water because even though that might prevent the spaghetti from clinging together, it will make it difficult for the sauce to stick on them.
If you liked this spaghetti arrabiata recipe, have a look at some of my other easy vegan pasta recipes:
- Creamy Vegan Fajita Pasta
- Vegan Chickpea Pasta Sauce
- Vegan Pasta Alla Norma
- Creamy Vegan Peanut Pasta
- Vegan Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Walnuts