Spaghetti Arrabiata


Arrabiata means ‘angry’ in Italian, because it’s so darned hot (as in, ‘Phew, I’ve been out in the sun too long and this sun burn is making me arrabiata.’ Perhaps not!)

Anyway, the sauce originates from central Italy and it’s packed with sunshiney tomatoes, chillies, garlic and olive oil. And that’s pretty much it.

But it’s HOW you treat those three ingredients that matters.

And according to my wife, this is the best version of it she’s ever tasted (although she’s only actually tried three!)

The key to this is to make a chilli/garlic confit. ‘Que?’ I hear you say. It’s dead simple: just put 5-6 garlic cloves, unpeeled, and 2-3 long red chillies – seeds and all – into a small bowl  containing 6-7 tbsp of extra virgin oil then cook in a low oven (about 120C/Gas 1) for about an hour.

Once the garlic and chillies are very soft, squeeze the garlic out of their skins, chop the chillies, return to the oil and allow to cool. This is your confit.

How to use it is right here….

Serves 2

2 tbsp chilli oil (I bought a bottle from M&S)

1 garlic clove

2 dried chillies

1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed

2 tbsp confit chilli and garlic

400g can plum tomatoes

300g dried spaghetti

½ bunch flat-leaf parsley

Extra virgin olive oil

Grated Parmesan (optional)


1. Pour the chilli oil into a large pan and place on a medium heat.

2. Peel, finely sliced and add the garlic, crumble in the dried chilli and crush and add the fennel seeds.

3. When the garlic starts to lightly colour, add the confit chilli and garlic.


4. Fry gently for a few minutes, then tip in the tomatoes and half a can’s worth of water.


5. Mash and simmer to the consistency you desire while you cooked the spaghetti in boiling salted water, according to the packet instructions.


6. Drain the past and reserve a cupful of cooking water.

7. Season the sauce to your taste with salt and pepper, then toss the spaghetti through it, loosing with a splash of cooking water, if needed.


8. Serve scattered with parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and Parmesan, if you like.



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