Cooking Recipes,  Pastas & noodles

Thinking about pasta and Shrimp Arrabbiata

Here’s a little confession: I used to be one of those people who would eat something with an interesting name but never bothered with finding out what the heck they mean. I never noticed before how with food, names hold that power of helping your mind transition into the flavours. It’s what helps you imagine the taste.

Ever since starting my food blogging journey though, I’ve learned to be more attentive to these kinds of things. Of course the learning has been rather slow, and sometimes there are names I only remember to check when I come across them again. For example, this word “ARRABBIATA”. I have been eating Pasta Arrabbiata for years but only lately have I actually made an effort to find out what it actually means. And well, cooking it seemed like the next natural step.

One of the things that I’ve wanted to learn about are pastas. Italian food names have this way of rolling on your tongue pleasurably even before you get to eat the dishes, which is why I always enjoy trying to read them (with a bad accent!) and figure them out.

In my defence I haven’t eaten Italian food in a while so the whole learning more about pasta and sauce names had to be put on hold. I think I’ll make it a point to make all the different types of sauces in the near future and share it here. Wouldn’t that be a fun pasta series? 😀

Why don’t we start with Arrabbiata sauce, which sounds rather exotic but is actually quite simple to make. It’s essentially just a tomato-based sauce with garlic and red chilli peppers cooked in olive oil. So yes, it is indeed a spicy sauce as suggested by its name “Arrabbiata”, which literally means “angry” in Italian.

I’m a fan of tomato-based pastas and spicy things so Arrabbiata’s always one of my picks when I eat in Italian restaurants. And the good news is it’s an easy pasta recipe to make at home too!

Traditionally Arrabbiata is served with penne pasta, because you like that flavourful sauce to fill up the spaces of the penne and create a tangy and spicy explosion in every bite. But since I didn’t have any penne I just used some spaghetti, but I wanted to try out this curious one I found in the supermarket. Apparently it’s a healthier version with carrots and malunggay (moringa) in it. 

I’m not promoting this by the way, just sharing interesting supermarket finds with you all! 🙂

Anyway, pasta is about the easiest hearty comfort food you can make at home because you’re literally just mixing things up to create the sauce. I actually can’t vouch for how authentic this Shrimp Arrabbiata recipe is but it looked so good I decided to make it and tweak it a little bit while still keeping the basic characteristics of the arrabbiata sauce intact.

So basically you just cook your onions and garlic in olive oil before adding the tomatoes in puree as well as everything else except the pasta and letting it all come to a boil. Then just mix in the pasta and you’re good to go! How’s that for a super easy pasta recipe to start this year?!

Man these pasta photos sure are making me hungry.

Shrimp Arrabbiata

An easy spicy tomato-based pasta that packs a punch and is quick to whip up!
Servings 4


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in thick puree
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes, adjust according to taste
  • 6 ounces pasta of choice


  • 1. Prepare the pasta according to package instructions.
  • 2. Heat oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium high heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until onion is translucent and garlic is aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • 3. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, oregano, basil, and chilli flakes and mix it all together. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • 4. Lower the heat to medium and add the shrimp. Let sauce simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • 5. Mix the cooked pasta in the sauce, or serve the pasta and ladle the sauce over.


Adapted from Prevention
See how easy that was? If you’re wondering why my process photos are so sparse, it’s because I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to write about this on the blog, but in the end I decided to just do it. 😉

PS. I just got all excited about the prospect of making a pasta sauce series!

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