Skip the jarred sauce and make this simple rigatoni arrabbiata recipe instead. This homemade spicy tomato sauce will make you feel like an Italian chef.
Since you're making it from scratch, you can customize the spiciness to your liking.
Once you've made this easy and delicious homemade arrabbiata sauce, you'll never go back to the jarred stuff again!
This is not an authentic Rigatoni Arrabbiata. I made it a little more simple and sped up the cooking time. That way, you can still enjoy a homemade tomato pasta sauce full of flavor, but you don't have to spend an hour making it.
Fennel Seed: Fennel is a traditional Italian flavor that I love for this sauce, but if you don't have fennel seed, you can leave it out.
Red Pepper Flakes: 1 teaspoon will give you a medium spiciness. If it's not spicy enough for you after it's done simmering, add ¼ - ½ teaspoon more for more spice.
Canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes: I used San Marzano Whole Tomatoes; they are the best-tasting whole tomatoes. Use whole tomatoes. You will get the best flavor from them. Diced and crushed tomatoes won't be as flavorful.
Tomato Paste: Tomato paste depends on the sauce's flavor and makes it taste better. Hate only using part of a can of tomato paste? Check out this article on how you can freeze tomato paste.
Rigatoni: I like how the sauce burrows into the rigatoni, so you get a lot of savory spicy in every bite, but you can use a pound of any pasta you want for this recipe.
Pecorino Romano: Pecorino Romano is bright and salty and adds flavor to this recipe. If you can't find it, Parmesan is a good substitute.
Full ingredient list with quantities in the recipe card below
🔪 How to Make Rigatoni Arrabbiata
1. Blend: Blend the canned tomatoes in a blender for about 2-3 seconds. You want a sauce with a little texture but not too chunky.
2. Start Sauce: Add olive oil, minced garlic, tomato paste, chopped fennel seed, red pepper flakes, paprika, salt, and pepper to a large pot. Turn the heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes
3. Simmer: Add in the tomatoes and Pecorino. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta.
4. Put It All Together: Add the rigatoni to the arrabbiata sauce. Serve and top with more Pecorino Romano!
👩🍳Tips & Tricks
Keep an eye on the tomato paste while it's cooking in the olive oil. Once the mixture turns deep red, add the tomatoes or take it off the heat. It can burn very quickly.
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes will give you a medium spice. If you want it spicier, add ¼ - ½ teaspoon more.
♥ Why You'll Love Arrabbiata Sauce
Arrabbiata is a classic Italian sauce that combines rich tomatoes with garlic and chili flakes, resulting in a dish that's flavorful and comforting. Spicy pasta with garlic and tomatoes is the hallmark of this dish. Rigatoni Holds on to that spicy tomato sauce, so you get tons of flavoring in every bite. I love making this for a quick and cozy weeknight dinner!
35 Minute Rigatoni Arrabbiata
- 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes I used San Marzano Tomatoes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed chopped
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta
- ¼ cup Pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese
See it. Make it. Eat it!
- Blend the canned tomatoes in a blender for about 2-3 seconds. You can also blend it in a food processor for about 10 pulses. You'll want the sauce to have a little texture but not be chunky.
- Add olive oil, minced garlic, tomato paste, chopped fennel seed, red pepper flakes, paprika, salt, and pepper to a large pot.
- Turn the heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes or until the tomato paste becomes a deep red. Mix while it cooks so it doesn’t burn.
- Then add in the blended tomatoes and Pecorino Romano. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes.
- While the sauce simmers, cook your rigatoni as directed on the packaging.
- Once the pasta and sauce are done, add the rigatoni to the arrabbiata sauce.
- Serve and top with more Pecorino Romano!