Arrabbiata: the gritty energy of Roman sauce

The Arrabbiata Sauce is a typically Roman sauce. Born from the combination of simple ingredients, like fresh tomatoes, oil, garlic, chilli and pecorino cheese, the arrabbiata sauce is one of the specialties of the Roman and Lazio cuisine.

Its explosive taste, mainly due to the use of chilli, triggers an immediate redness on the face of those who eat it, just like when you are angry! Not surprisingly, it goes well with a good red wine to soften the taste.

Arrabbiata pasta is prepared in a very short time and penne rigate are usually used, but versions with long pasta are widely chosen too, such as bucatini or spaghetti. But let’s see the story together!

Arrabbiata: a bit of history

According to the tradition, the arrabbiata sauce was born in the early twentieth century in a Roman trattoria whose host wanted to offer its customers an alternative to amatriciana. So, he left tomato and pecorino, added garlic and removed the bacon, replacing the bucatini with the penne and considerably increased the amount of chilli.

We do not know if this is really the history of the arrabbiata but the origin is certainly Roman. Federico Fellini immortalized it in his film Roma, in 1972, together with the rigatoni with the pataja (the intestine of the dairy calf), the carbonara and the snails with mint and chilli. He also appeared in the films La Grande Abbuffata (The Great Binge) by Marco Ferreri of 1973 and in the play Sette chili in sette giorni (Seven pounds in seven days) by Luca Verdone in 1986, with Renato Pozzetto and Carlo Verdone.

Arrabbiata: the numerous variations

The sauce all’arrabbiata precisely because of its simplicity has often been enriched, transformed, especially in recent years. In fact it has often been considered a base from which to start adding different ingredients. In the best known one, pecorino is not used; others replace the garlic with the onion or they both fry them; there are those who replace grated Parmesan with pecorino; some add mushrooms and pancetta, slightly distorting the soul of the dish. The real secret, however, to make this real special dish is the use of high quality raw materials.

Arrabbiata: the recipe


400 g pasta (penne)

A clove of garlic

Fresh chilli

Tomato sauce

Extra virgin olive oil

Preparing time 15 min

Cooking time 10 min (based on what is written on the pasta box)

Serves 4


To start, put the water to boil for the pasta and in the meantime fry in a pan the extra virgin olive oil with a clove of garlic and fresh chilli cut into small pieces.

Then the tomato puree is added and the sauce is left to “pull” for about a quarter of an hour.

In the meantime, the pasta is thrown into the boiling water, adding a handful of salt, then drained al dente. Pour the pasta into the pan and sauté to flavor well.

Serve sprinkled with grated pecorino and a bit of parsley.

Enjoy your pasta with the arrabbiata sauce!

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