All'arrabbiata means "angry style", and that's all you really need to know about this recipe. It's a tomato sauce with a kick. Usually that comes from crushed red pepper flakes, but I found this recipe from FX Cuisine that trades the flakes for a scotch bonnet, one fiercely hot chile (I used its close cousin, the habanero). I thought it was there just for a little shock value. I imagined the pasta so hot only those blessed with incredible spice tolerances could take it. But something happens to the chile during the cooking process. Since only a little bit is used, the shocking spiciness fades away into a glorious lingering glow that isn't, shockingly, that hot at all.
It also lends an incredible fruity flavor that transforms this into one of the better basic tomato sauces I'd made in ages. It's odd that that little chile could add so much flavor. That's fine and all, but I also wanted some ringing heat so I also added some red pepper flakes. If you are timid with spice, you might want to leave that addition out. Penne is most commonly used for this kind of sauce, but all I had was spaghetti and it held up well. This is basically a pantry meal, after all. It just happens to be one with loads of flavor.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 habanero, stemmed, seeds removed, and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1-28 ounce can of tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 pound spaghetti or penne
- salt and pepper
- handful of grated Parmesan or Pecorino
Pour the olive oil into large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the onion, habanero, and red pepper flakes and cook until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the wine. Scrape the bottom to loosen any bits. Then dump in the can of tomatoes. Add the oregano, and season with salt and pepper. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. With ten minutes or so left for the sauce to cook, add the spaghetti or penne and cook for 1 minute less than the directions on the package.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Toss the pasta with the sauce. Add the water if sauce is too dry. Toss until well combined. Add a sprinkling of the cheese and season with salt and pepper.