Pasta d’Arrabiata…it’s one of BeeBop’s all-time favorites. And, really, what could be bad about a recipe that starts with frying up some bacon! The word arrabiata means ‘angry’ and is a reference to the red pepper flakes in the sauce.
I found this recipe more than 15 years ago on the internet and while it may not be truly authentic, it’s darned good. One word of advice: don’t even think about making this dish with dried basil. I’ve tried it. It just doesn’t work.
Now, the following is how I make it for me and BeeBop. You could double it for more, but really this would feed two adults and two children. Also, if you’re feeding folks who can’t take the heat, go pretty light on the red pepper flakes. You can always sprinkle some more on yours before serving!
Go ahead and start the water for your pasta and cook it according to the package directions. If it’s done before you finish the sauce, remove it from the heat and hold it until the end.
Heat a large, deep frying pan and slice the bacon crosswise into about 1/4″ pieces. Cook the bacon over medium heat until brown but not too crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pan. Set aside the bacon for later. Toss in your onions and garlic and saute a few minutes until the onion is wilted.
Add the tomatoes. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce is pretty well reduced and the tomatoes have cooked down but are still chunky. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little of the pasta cooking water to keep it going. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Add crushed red pepper flakes.
Just before you’re ready to serve, add the cooked bacon back into the sauce.
Stir in the fresh basil. Now, as I said before please do not even try to use dried basil in this recipe. It just isn’t the same. Sorry. Every summer I grow lots of fresh herbs and I always seem to have more basil than I can use. So, I chop it up, pack it into ice cube trays, pour water in to cover and freeze. When it’s frozen solid, pop it out of the trays and into a plastic bag to keep in the freezer. The freezing does not seem to change the taste one bit and it’s so convenient to have on hand. When you’re cooking something that needs a little fresh basil, like this sauce, pop one of those cubes right in. Yum.
Okay, back to our pasta….
Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sauce. Stir well to coat the pasta with the sauce.
Top servings with grated Parmesan and a little more crushed red pepper if you like. I serve this with some crusty garlic bread and a simple salad dressed with oil and vinegar. A glass of wine alongside isn’t bad either.
Note: This post has been updated with a new photo and republished.
More easy pasta recipes you might enjoy:
- Shrimp Pasta with Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce from Gimme Some Oven
- Pasta with Tomato, Spinach, Basil and Brie from Simply Recipes
- Scarpetta’s Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Garlic Basil Oil from Steamy Kitchen
- One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta from Framed Cooks
- One Pot Penne Pasta with Tomato and Basil from The Little Kitchen