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+ servings

Spicy Red Sauce (Arrabbiata)

This easy version of spicy red sauce is cooked low and slow. Use as much (or as little) red pepper as you like. Control the spiciness and make it to your tastebuds.

Servings 4 servings
Author Laura


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes Start with a little and add more after tasting.
  • 1-2 pinches Aleppo pepper Optional. See note below
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced 5 oz/143 g
  • 1 small carrot, diced/minced 3 oz/90 g
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced or crushed See note below.
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (or canned whole tomatoes)
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in the deep pan or pot. Add the crushed red pepper and Aleppo pepper if using. Sauté the pepper in the oil on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Add the diced onion and continue stirring, cooking for 5-7 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute.

  3. Add the crushed or canned tomatoes and bring to a low simmer. (If you use whole tomatoes, break them up with a spoon after adding them.) Continue cooking for about 30 minutes, trying to keep the temperature such that the sauce looks like it is burping in the middle, rather than a strong simmer with lots of bubbles around the edges of the pot. After about 20 minutes, add in the salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste. Continue cooking until the sauce is nice and thick. You can always thin it out if desired with hot pasta water or a bit of red wine.

Recipe Notes

Aleppo pepper has some heat, but it is better known for its fruity and earthy flavor. 

I prefer my garlic subtle rather than harsh, so I slice it or smash the clove, leaving it whole and if it remains intact, fishing it out when the sauce is cooked. If you like "in your face" garlic taste, feel free to mince it.