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How to Make an Arrabbiata Sauce
Casual Kitchen: The 25 Best Laughably Cheap Recipes at Casual Kitchen

This spicy and delicious sauce can be made in a few bare minutes, making it a classic heavy rotation recipe for us here at Casual Kitchen. An arrabbiata sauce (often mistakenly spelled arrabiata) can be served with practically any kind of pasta, although it goes particularly well with penne to make the classic Italian dish penne all'arrabbiata.

The word arrabbiata means "angry" (or even better, "enraged") in English. But that's about the opposite of how you'll feel after you make this preposterously easy, yet distinctive, sauce.

Arrabbiata Sauce
(modified from 365 Ways to Cook Pasta*)

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons crushed dried (hot) red pepper (note: if you want a milder sauce with just a hint of heat, use 1 teaspoon. For a more meaningfully spicy sauce, go with 2 teaspoons)

1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (see modifications below)
Fresh parsley for garnish
Salt to taste (optional)

1) Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper. Saute, stirring until garlic turns golden.

2) Put the whole tomatoes into a food processor or a blender and pulse briefly until smooth. Add to the garlic, hot pepper and oil mixture.

3) Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes. Serve over the pasta of your choice.

Makes enough sauce for approximately 4-5 servings. Can be easily doubled or tripled.

This is the type of simple elegant sauce that can cause Italian food purists to wax rhapsodic. Although Casual Kitchen is perhaps more likely to rhapsodize over Chocolate Mousse or food-wonk concepts like applying the 80/20 Principle to cooking, we will happily admit that there is truly something arresting about a simple, delicious sauce like this.

All the better that it's healthy, inexpensive and--best of all--ridiculously easy to make.

And if you really want to wow your audience, you can take this sauce up to heavenly heights by using fresh (preferably garden- or locally-grown) tomatoes, preferably pressed through a strainer or a food mill (this strips out the tomato seeds, which can offend the sensibilities of many Italian sauce purists).

The last time I made this dish was in a quadruple batch for a 20-person family reunion dinner. Obviously for a group that big, one has to go for expedience, and straining fresh tomatoes is out of the question. But this sauce, even when made with canned tomatoes, still tastes divine. And best of all, because this sauce scales well and tastes even better the next day, it's simply perfect for dinner parties. Enjoy!