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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Arrabiata is ssssspicy!

You know those nights when you’re starving and want something simple and yummy… but don’t feel like going to the grocery store or cooking for hours?  My answer, Arrabiata. A spicy Italian pasta sauce. Characterized by the use of simple, but fresh, ingredients. Since the word Arrabiata mean "Angry" in Italian (and we are referring to a red sauce,) it goes with out saying that the sauce always features tomatoes and hot chili peppers, either fresh of dried. 

You can use this basic recipe and change it up however you like: different herbs, different citrus fruits, different seasonings. You can even have a different attitude and see how that affects the flavor of the plate!

Just kidding. But what you can change is what you wear each time. Choo's and Arrabiata; now that's a fun combination!

Spaghetti Arrabiata
Yield: 4 servings

1-2 tbsp. extra- virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
1 tbsp crushed dried red pepper flakes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 28-oz. can pureed tomatoes
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp oregano dried
Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
1 lb. dry spaghetti pasta (or linguine)

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add garlic, and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened and slightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti for 6-8 minutes until al dente.
Add red pepper flakes, oregano, a pinch of black pepper, then pour in the tomatoes.
Drizzle lightly with additional olive oil, stir, and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes; add chopped basil towards the very end of cooking time.
Drain the spaghetti, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta water.
Transfer the pasta to the tomatoes, only adding pasta water to thin the sauce as needed.
Drizzle with olive oil as desired.
Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the pasta holds the sauce.
Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil to finish.

Tricks for easy pasta: 

The water needs to taste like the sea when boiling because dry pasta is not seasoned. Boil dry pasta for less time than the box directions since you will finish the pasta off in the sauce.

Arrabiata is a great, spicy base to make other sauces. A simple addition of capers, peppers and tuna you can make a simple puttanesca sauce, or adding some mushrooms, onions and olives makes an easy cacciatore. Add a touch of cream for a great, easy pink sauce.


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