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  2. The story behind the dish: pasta arrabbiata
The Story Behind The Dish: Pasta Arrabbiata

The story behind the dish: pasta arrabbiata

Have you ever eaten a dish so spicy it made your eyes water? Was it pasta? Not many Italian dishes are associated with volcanic heat, but arrabbiata sauce is all about bringing that spice back. It's not just going to set your taste buds tingling – it'll set them alight. And you're going to like it. You can trust authentic Italian restaurants like Pastarium or Ovest to bring you the fire – because when arrabbiata is made with a burning passion, you can taste it.

The angriest Italian dish there is

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Italians are known for their passion – their excitement, creativity, and lust for life. And no dish better reflects that than the arrabbiata, which just translates directly to German as 'angry'. You know this sauce was done right when everything about it tastes dramatic – like it was made by someone channelling all of their fiery temper into this dish. The chefs at Italian restaurants these days might be a bit more cool-headed than that, but that doesn't mean they scrimp on the heat.

Disappointingly, nobody knows who invented arrabbiata, or when, or even where. Some people cite Rome, while others argue for Tuscany or even further afield. As it's a fairly simple recipe, it might have had a hundred different variations in towns and villages before it ever made it onto a restaurant menu.

Spice and everything nice

Arrabbiata's trademark 'anger' comes from its ingredients – garlic, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, and a liberal helping of red chilli. With such a simple recipe, every step of the way matters. Do you use cherry or plum tomatoes? Diced or pureed? Or cooked whole in their juices, until they start to break down? And then there's the chilli – you can stick to classic de-seeded red peppers, dried chilli flakes, or even start experimenting with other piquant possibilities.

Next is the question of what pasta you serve it with. Everyone can agree that penne is the traditional type here – especially penne rigate, the type with ridges on the outside. Arrabbiata isn't a thick sauce, so the grooves help it stick to the pasta – and you get pools of it inside each piece. But there's versions with everything from strands of spaghetti to round shells of conchiglie.

Served up steaming hot

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Rigatoni is the pasta of choice for both Pastarium and Ovest. These ridged pasta shapes are larger than penne, and Pastarium's have a wide diameter to help that spicy sauce coat the inside too. In contrast, Ovest's are longer and thinner – but every bite still promises to bring the fire.

Finish it up with a sprinkle of hard cheese or a garnish of fresh herbs, and get ready to set your tongue alight. If you were looking for Italian dish that bites back, arrabbiata is the only choice.

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