This will be a quick post for a change–I bet you’re relieved not to have to read (or skip over) my ramblings. Believe it or not, I’m sitting at the dinner table with my husband and our two friends who are visiting us for the week. We’re having a casual meal and as we chat and catch up over wine, I’m preparing this post for you. They don’t mind; then again, I’ve also got a Nutella tart in the oven for them.
I’m still a little under the weather and I had a late day at the office today so I wanted something easy for dinner. Pasta always ends up being a good choice for me because I can have a complete meal (including a salad) very quickly. This arrabiata sauce required minimal prep and simmering time and dinner was served.
Arrabiata sauce is really a basic tomato sauce, the presence of peperoncino (chili flakes) giving it its defining characteristic (and a lively kick). Arrabiata means “angry” in Italian, I think. It’s typically served with penne but I’m partial to spaghetti. Besides fresh thyme, I also added fresh basil to mine but I’m not certain that this is customary for arrabiata since I typically only see the latter in regular pomodoro sauces. Can anyone tell me? My herbs are doing quite well, though, and I look for every reason to use them.
So here’s dinner tonight; it fed three hungry men and me. I already had a batch of caesar dressing that I made ahead of time so dinner was on the table in thirty minutes.
- 1 – 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti (I used the larger amount)
- 2 large shallots, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
- peperoncino (red chili) flakes, as much as you can take
- 2 28-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- Small amount of fresh chopped basil (optional)
- Olive oil
- A pinch or two of sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmigiano Reggiano (garnish)
- Chopped Italian parsley (garnish)
Sauté the shallots in some olive oil (I’m pretty generous) in a skillet large enough to accommodate the cooked pasta. Making sure your stove is set on medium heat, add the chili flakes, chopped thyme and garlic, taking care not to burn the latter. After the garlic has cooked for a couple of minutes, add the two cans of tomatoes and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. During this time, I added some salt, pepper and sugar. The latter helps to reduce the acidity of the tomatoes and also lends a long-simmering quality to the finished product. Boil the pasta to al dente towards the last few minutes of simmer time and also add the chopped basil to the sauce, if using.
Add the pasta to the sauce and toss. Plate in serving bowls and top with cheese and parsley. Enjoy!