Arrabbiata, which is Italian for "pissed off," is a red pasta sauce with a bit of a kick. There are a number of varieties of arrabbiata sauce, but the essential component is a healthy dose of spicy peppers.
1 medium-to-large white onion
Up to 1 1/2 head garlic (to taste)
1 large can, tomato purée
2 tubes, tomato paste
1 large can, diced tomatoes
several chopped fresh roma tomatoes
Olive oil, to taste
Red wine (preferably merlot or chianti), to taste
Balsamic vinegar, to taste
Sea salt or kosher salt, approximately 1.5 tsp (or to taste)
Fresh oregano, to taste
Fresh parsley, to taste
Fresh basil, to taste
Crushed red pepper, at least 1 Tbsp
One block of parmigiano reggiano cheese
FOR THOSE WHO LIKE IT HOT:
3 serrano peppers
FOR THOSE WHO LIKE IT REALLY, REALLY HOT:
3 habanero peppers
The first order of business is to chop up the solid ingredients. Peel and mince the garlic. Finely chop the oregano and parsley together, and the basil separately. Finely chop the onion, or chop it in a food processor (if you do, mind that you don't liquefy it). IF you're using the habanero or serrano peppers and neither of these is for the faint of palate then slice them finely, leaving the white inner bit connected. It is the soft white inside that contains the capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the "heat" of hot peppers.
Take a wok, stockpot, or saucier and put it on your range. Coat the bottom with a generous amount of olive oil, and sprinkle a few drops of water into the olive oil to make it easier to judge when the oil is ready. Turn the burner to HIGH.
Once the olive oil begins to sizzle, it's time to stir in the chopped onions. Add a teaspoon of kosher/sea salt. Stir them periodically until they start to become translucent. Then add the garlic, the oregano and parsley, the crushed red pepper, and, if you really want to, the serrano/habanero peppers. Stir this together, adding in the red wine and balsamic vinegar (to taste), as you go. Allow the mixture to simmer at medium heat for 10-20 minutes. Periodic sampling isn't a bad idea.
Begin to stir in the diced/chopped tomatoes, making sure that they are uniformly distributed throughout the pot and thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients. Then, add the tomato paste, along with a generous amount of water to aid in its dissolution. Once this is all well stirred, stir in the tomato purée. Allow this mixture to simmer at low-to-medium heat for 15-30 minutes, sampling often. Add crushed red pepper, salt, balsamic vinegar, and red wine to taste. Add the basil during the last minutes of simmering.
Traditionally, arrabbiata sauces are served over penne. However, fusilli, conchiglie (shells), or even thick spaghetti work well. Finely grate the parmigiano reggiano cheese and sprinkle over the finished product, to taste. TIP: if you want to flavour your sauce with parmigiano reggiano, use the rind of the cheese like a soup bone. This will give you the flavour without cutting into the cheese you want to sprinkle.
Other items in Élise's Culinodes
Quick vegetarian pasta sauce --=-- Bruschetta --=-- Sugo Napoli al balsamico