JJ’s Arrabbiata Express

Well this dish is simply one of my favourite sauces.  If you love it hot, and you want it quick, then this is the place to get it from.  In fact, the Italian “Sugo all’arrabbiata” translates literally as “angry sauce” –  due to the heat of the chili peppers. Dangerously good and succulent, and the flavour is glorious.  I shall say no more, and impart my recipe to you for your delight.  Except not all credit goes to me, but to Jonathan my husband who has been making this for years – I think he could make it blindfolded, he rustles it up so fast – and the result is always so great ! He says that the key lies in the quantities of the ingredients used, the correct balance of sweet versus savoury, and the pasta cooked al dente, whilst the bite teases the buds to last beyond the meal itself.  Onwards to the kitchen we go . . .

TIP : He does chop some olives in it when time permits,  and when I insist – so don’t hesitate to add them.  Also try this with penne (the authentic way the Italians eat it in Rome), it works great !


olive oil for frying

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

½ tsp chilli powder (but feel free to add more if you want it hotter !)

a handful of whole Greek or Mediterranean olives, chopped (optional)

1 small chilli, finely chopped (again, more if you want more heat !)

2 Tbsp tomato paste

½ tsp dried oregano

1 14oz tin chopped tomatoes

1 tsp vegan butter

1 tsp agave, or other sweetener of your choice

salt to taste

extra olive oil for drizzling

extra olive or two, for garnishing (optional)

fresh parsley, or basil, for garnishing


  1. Heat your saucepan, and fry the garlic in olive oil for a few moments. Then add the chopped chilli and chopped olives (if using), followed by the tomato paste a few moments later. Stir for a minute on a low heat, but be careful not to burn the garlic.
  2. Next, add the remaining ingredients, except only half the tinned chopped tomatoes at this point. Lower the heat, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  3. Now add the remaining tomatoes, cover, and simmer for a further 20 minutes or so, until the sauce is an orange-reddish colour.
  4. Serve with spaghetti or other pasta of your choice, cooked a little al dente.  Taste the sauce for salt before serving.
  5. Garnish with fresh herbs, and a couple of black olives for effect, and drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil.

All recipes and content © Miriam Sorrell mouthwateringvegan.com 2010

These are free recipes for your pleasure – all we ask in return is that you take a few moments to leave us a constructive comment !

suitable for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike

44 Responses to “JJ’s Arrabbiata Express”

  1. Mirian de Meneses Costa Says:

    Great idea, Miriam. Thanks for sharing all these delicious recipes!

  2. Miriam Says:

    Mirian Hi there and thanks for your very kind words. It is my pleasure to be sharing my recipes and I very much look forward to your feedback on this easy to make but delicious dish ! Best wishes your way.

  3. Sharon Percy Says:

    I made this for a quick tea last night! I am a vegetarian, not quite a vegan but my family are all meat eaters, I must say they all thoroughly enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing x
    I will be giving your middle eastern crustless pie a go tonight x

  4. Miriam Says:

    Hi Sharon and thanks for dropping by here with your comment. I am glad that your family enjoyed this. My crustless pie is great, but not my 1st choice for non-vegans. Be sure to add more vegan cheese as to enhance the flavour further. Enjoy !

  5. Lisa McIntoh Says:

    Hi Miriam, I just saw your post on fb and would love to join your mailing list but can not pm you there. I am new at being meat free and your page has helped me so much with still having fun in the kitchen. Thank you so much! I look forward to receiving your first email.

  6. Miriam Says:

    Lisa Hi there and welcome here dear. I am adding you to my new monthly newsletter right now. It should be out sometime next month – the response is overwhelming. I look forward to your comments and feedback on my blog and do browse my category section on the right hand side of my blog – see what grabs you ! Best wishes your way in the meantime and enjoy !

  7. Joe Says:

    Hi Miriam: This recipe caught my fancy cos I just love chilli and cayenne in nearly all my recipes. In fact my mouth will be so hot if I insert a match it catches fire for sure ha ha! I booked it for the near future. Tks.

  8. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Joe and thanks for your comment. Hope you enjoy it when you make it. The sauce is easy to make. I am starting up a new Monthly Newsletter to send to my fans/guests from this site – if you wish to be added, it’s free of charge, just say the word and will add you too – the newsletter will have new recipes, some vegan info etc . . . Best to you !

  9. Candace Says:

    This was fabulous! I love the mediterranean olives in the sauce and the extra heat. It had a depth of flavors that was so enjoyable!

  10. Arrabbiata Pasta Sauce : Nutritional Empire Says:

    […] © Miriam Sorrell mouthwateringvegan.com 2010 […]

  11. Silva Says:

    Dearest Miriam – thank you again for another wonderful tasty recipe. I have put a link to the Arrabbiata sauce recipe on my site.
    Take care,

  12. Miriam Says:

    Silva Hi there – thanks for the pingback and hope you enjoy the recipe ! Best to you.

  13. Miriam Says:

    Thanks for pingback Silva.

  14. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Candace and thanks for dropping by with your feedback on my pasta sauce recipe. Glad you enjoyed it and hope you enjoy many others from here. I look forward to your future comments here – Cheers to you in the meantime.

  15. Charmaine Says:

    Hi Miriam, back from the salon and I just whipped up your pasta arrabbiata in a jiffy….and the result was fabulous!!!….ok, gotta admit it, I happen to be a pasta junkie,so my judgement might be biased, but this came out lovely, there`s no beating around the bush!

  16. Miriam Says:

    Charmain Hi there and welcome here. I am delighted that you have made this sauce and enjoyed it. I don’t think you have been biased at all, if anything since you love pasta so much, your discrimination would be more attuned – hope you make and enjoy other recipes from here. Best wishes your way !

  17. Joe Says:

    Hi Miriam back with my feedback. Enjoyed this very much but it wasn’t very arabbiata for my liking :(. Will increase the chilli content for next time.

  18. Miriam Says:

    Hi Joe, thanks for your feedback. How hot one prefers this is up to each individual, so everybody is at liberty to taste the sauce prior to serving it on the pasta to check for both salt and heat (ie chilli heat) – better luck next time ! It’s easy enough to repeat and glad you enjoyed it.

  19. Kim Says:

    Hi Miriam!

    Just made this after a hard day at work and did it ever hit the spot! I served it with penne, an olive and herb bread and finely grated Redwoods Parmesan style. The Mr and I really enjoyed it and ate far more than we intended to.

    I used a lot of chopped olives. I didn’t use much chilli, mainly because I ordered an Arrabbiata Bake at a restaurant on Saturday and it was so hot that I couldn’t eat it! They say it’s because I ordered it without the cheese…hmm. This one was much better, thank you x

  20. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Kim and thanks for dropping by here with your comment. I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it ! Yes, it does work wonderful with penne of course. I don’t think that the ‘cheese’ would have made the one you ordered less hot, as it’s difficult to disguise ‘chilli heat’. Kim let me know if you wish to join our new monthly newsletter due out some weeks from now. It will have exclusive recipes, info and much more. If so, just say the word and will add you. Best wishes your way in the meantime !

  21. Kim Says:

    Ooh yes please that would be wonderful!

  22. Miriam Says:

    Have added you Kim.

  23. Vanessa Says:

    Hi Miriam, I saw your site via a friend’s FB post. Your recipes look amazing and I will definitely be purchasing your book. Can’t wait to make this recipe this week. Thank you!

  24. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Vanessa and welcome here. I am glad that you found my site and that you like what you have come across of my recipes. My book is up for pre-ordering and is on my home page and Amazon entitled Mouthwatering Vegan. Meantime, if you wish to be added to our new upcoming Monthly newsletter for recipe updates, vegan info and tips and much more just let me know and I will add you. Best wishes your way and I look forward to your future comments on my blog !

  25. Nat Says:

    Hi Miriam,
    These recipes look delicious. I can’t wait to try them. Good luck with your book. You deserve it.

  26. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Nat and welcome here. Thanks for dropping by here with your kind words. I hope you enjoy my recipes and look forward to your future comments on my blog !

  27. Pascal Says:

    Decided to make this instead of the recipe with the orzo, which I’ll make tomorrow.
    Gotta be honest, although I like the ingredients (even put the chopped Greek olives in), it wasn’t really what I expected it to be.
    Hope I didn’t do something wrong but there was so little sauce to mix with the pasta that I found it a bit strange.
    Could be that I’ve made a mistake with the 1 14oz tin chopped tomatoes.
    I had to find a website to calculate it and 1 14oz seemed to be 32 grams.
    Did it go wrong there?
    Gotta admit that I’m used to a lot of sauce and maybe this dish just doesn’t have it.

  28. Miriam Says:

    Pascal Hi there. You sound like a true carb kind of guy ! This sauce is awesome, but yeah, you have to have a good portion of it. I am suspecting that you did not have enough sauce. Next time if you wish to make it, add 2 cups of chopped ripe tomatoes, or a tin of it. Taste for salt in advance and make sure you love the olives you add and make it as hot as you can take with plenty of garlic. and double the quantity of tomato puree (I suspect you like a rich sauce) Garnish with a good olive oil and flat leaf chopped parsley. See how you do then (taste for salt before serving). If not, the Orzo won’t let you down, although I suspect that what I mention to you should do the trick !

  29. Pascal Says:

    Hey Miriam. I don’t know that expression but I presume I should take that as a compliment 😉
    Don’t ge me wrong, I loved the flavour and taste of this sauce, there just wasn’t enough of it.
    I’ll add more chopped tomatoes next time.
    I did like the olives though, those Greek ones taste really great. Couldn’t stop eating them after I was finished with the dish haha.
    Thanks for the help! I’m sure next time it’ll be much better 🙂
    Today its time for the orzo again, looking forward to it already.

  30. Miriam Says:

    Have a good Orzo weekend Pascal ! 🙂

  31. nan Says:

    very good, but will add more chili and double peppers . my husband added crushed red pepper to his and that spiced it up a bit. the olives added are the mouthwatering ingredient IMO. easy recipe and will definitely make again!

  32. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Nan and thanks for dropping by here with your feedback. This type of sauce is subjective in terms of preference for ‘hot chili flavour’ and to that effect if you serve it to 6 guests, there will always be a couple that would reach out for the tabasco or flaked chillies if they were at the table – as the saying goes ‘some like it hot’ hotter than others, I know my husband is the same. Best wishes and hope you enjoy my other sauces from my blog as well as other recipes. 🙂

  33. Yasmine Says:

    I made Miriam…and OMG it was soooo yummy!!! I made one portion without chilli for my son and he wanted more…thank you once again! xoxo

  34. Miriam Says:

    Yasmine Hi and glad you and your son enjoyed it so much !

  35. Lucy Says:

    Tried this, this evening and really enjoyed it, it wasn’t too spicy but still had a kick to it. I added mushrooms, peppers and green beans as me and the boyfriend aren’t overly keen on olives. Quick and easy to make though will definitely make again. Thanks!

  36. Miriam Says:

    Lucy Hi there – glad you enjoyed it and as for the chilli, it’s down to personal preference, sometimes spicing it up is great, other times one tones it down. The additions sound perfect !

  37. Shinelle Cross Says:

    I tried it! I was nervous to eat it because I never had chilli pepper before and I heard it’s very hottttt!!! But it was really good….it was spicy yes but edible enough for me which is good because I am not a HOT PEPPER person. This was delicious! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Next up I am still waiting to get my white dry wine for the next dish!

  38. Miriam Says:

    That’s awesome news Shinelle. So glad that you have made and enjoyed this despite the fact that you don’t like hot food. I very much look forward to your feedback on many other recipes from my blog. Kudos to you for trying it out. 🙂

  39. Doreen Says:

    Wow, this was so good! Made it into the family favorite folder at my house! Thank you for sharing.

  40. Miriam Says:

    Sounds perfect Doreen, so glad you made and enjoyed it so ! I very much look forward to your future comments on my blog ! 🙂

  41. Ada Says:

    Hi Miriam! Perhaps you could tell me, are the olives suppoused to be green or black?

  42. Miriam Says:

    Ada Hi there, black olives are preferrable, they need to be the salted meditteranean type with full flavour. Otherwise green will also be fine, but strong flavoured olives are preferrable. Enjoy !

  43. sommer Says:

    loved it thanks!Another fab recipe!

  44. Miriam Says:

    Thanks there Sommer, so glad you enjoyed it ! 🙂

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