Pappardelle with Arrabbiata Sauce is the perfect combo! Delicious enough for Sunday’s dinner, and easy enough for a weeknight meal.

Black speckled bowl full of pappardelle and a scoop of burrata.

So much going on, but so little effort.

I don’t know what the star of this dish is—the deliciously fat and chewy noodles or the feisty arrabbiata sauce they’re dressed in. Or maybe it’s the pillowy burrata that cuts through the heat and brings on a subtle richness. Regardless, this is a bowl of pasta that satisfies the belly and the heart. The idea of making from-scratch tomato sauce can seem daunting, sure, but I promise you this one’s a quickie! Simple ingredients, little prep, and a short cooking time that still offers up a ton of flavor.

What is arrabbiata sauce?

Arrabbiata translates to “angry” in Italian, which is so awesomely fitting for this sauce because it’s meant to be spicy. Traditionally it’s made up of tomatoes, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes in olive oil. It’s really unfussy! But still incredibly flavorful; think of it as an amped up marinara of sorts. In my version of this sauce, I’ve added some yellow onion, fresh basil and parsley, and minced anchovy fillets (inspired by puttanesca sauce). If you don’t like fish, don’t fret. The anchovy fillets don’t add any fishyness to the sauce, but their salty umami flavor is unmistakable and that’s where this sauce really shines. Anchovies aren’t a traditional ingredient in an arrabbiata sauce, but they work so well in a puttanesca sauce that I just had to bring them into this recipe.

Close up of saucepan with smoothed arrabbiata sauce.

Introducing the lovely pappardelle.

Pappardelle noodles are wide, flat tasty ribbons of pasta that have a real easy time picking up sauce as you twirl them up and around your fork, promising you a mouthful of deliciousness every time. It’s fitting that pappare is the verb “to gobble up”, because YOU WILL. Pappardelle noodles are similar to fettuccini, but with more oumph. You can usually find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store along with the fresh pastas, or you can find dried varieties in specialty packs with your usual boxed pastas.

Nests of pappardelle pasta on a round wooden cutting board.

Black speckled bowl full of pappardelle and a scoop of burrata.

What to put on your shopping list.

Along with being easy, this recipe is also flexible. I highly recommend using San Marzano tomatoes, but if you can’t find them, opt for another can of good quality tomatoes. You can always taste the difference in quality when it comes to tomatoes, and when making a from-scratch sauce, it matters. As for the burrata, this is an optional addition, but you’ll love it. This soft, pillowy, and creamy cheese cuts through the heat of the sauce and adds a teeny bit of richness. Here’s your shopping list:

  • Pappardelle
  • Can of crushed tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Small yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Anchovy fillets
  • Tomato paste
  • Fresh basil and parsley
  • Vegetable broth
  • Sea salt
  • Burrata

Flatlay of ingredients including bowl of crushed tomatoes, tin of anchovies, fresh herbs, and pinch bowls of garlic, chilis, and tomato paste.

Here’s how to make this luscious Pappardelle with Arrabbiata Sauce.

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Once the olive oil is shimmering, add the onions. Sauté them, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until they’re sweating and translucent. Hit them with a pinch of salt.
  2. Add the garlic, crushed chili flakes, and anchovies. Stir, and let everything simmer for another minute or so, until the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add the tomato paste and vegetable broth and mix until the tomato paste has completely dissolved and the mixture is simmering.
  4. Finally, add the crushed tomatoes, fresh herbs, and some extra crushed chilis if you’d like.
  5. Bring the sauce to a simmer, and let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
  6. While the sauce is cooking, go ahead and cook your noodles. Drain and set them aside in a large pot.
  7. Taste the sauce and add more salt if necessary. The anchovies will add some saltiness, so you don’t have to be as heavy with the salt in this recipe.
  8. Once the sauce is seasoned to your liking, you can serve it as it if you like a chunkier sauce, or you can blend it into a smooth sauce, which is what I do out of preference. With an immersion blender, carefully blend the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency.
  9. Spoon the sauce over the pappardelle noodles and gently toss to coat.
  10. Transfer the pappardelle to bowls, pop some burrata on top, and finish with an extra sprinkle of crushed chili peppers, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a few sprigs of fresh basil.

Collage of process shots of onions in saucepan with red pepper flakes, tomato paste added, and then finished sauce with fresh herbs.

Equipment you’ll need:

  1. Large pot, for pasta
  2. Colander
  3. Medium-sized saucepan
  4. Wooden spoon
  5. Sharp knife
  6. Cutting Board
  7. Immersion blender (optional)

Left: Saucepan full of chunky arrabbiata; Right: saucepan of arrabbiata being smoothed with immersion blender.

Recipe tips + tricks.

  1. Can’t find pappardelle pasta? You can use fettuccine or linguine.
  2. This recipe brings on medium heat. You can easily adjust the heat by adding more or less crushed red chili peppers.
  3. Burrata can be replaced with a small scoop of ricotta, or you can omit the rich and thick cheese all together and simply grate some fresh parmesan or pecorino romano over your pasta.
  4. If you want a smoother consistency but don’t have an immersion blender, you could transfer your sauce to a blender and blend until you reach your desired consistency.
  5. In the event that you have a seafood allergy or are just completely repelled by anchovies, you could omit them—you may just need to add a smidgen more salt. But I highly highly highly encourage using them if an allergy isn’t the issue. They don’t add a fishy taste at all—they just add so much flavor! Get a good quality brand like King Oscar.
  6. You can make this sauce a day in advance if needed. Just refrigerate it in a sealed container and, when it’s time to warm it up, do so in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed through.
  7. This sauce will keep in the fridge, sealed in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. In the freezer, it’ll keep for about 3 months.

Black speckled bowl full of pappardelle and a scoop of burrata.

Other easy pasta recipes you’ll love:

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Black speckled bowl full of pappardelle and a scoop of burrata.

Get the Recipe:

Pappardelle with Arrabbiata Sauce

Pappardelle with Arrabbiata Sauce is the perfect combo! Delicious enough for Sunday's dinner, and easy enough for a weeknight meal.
5 from 6 votes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pappardelle pasta
  • 1-2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (about 1.5 cups)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your heat preference)
  • 3 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano, or another high quality variety)
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh basil
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  • Pinch of sea salt, more to taste if necessary

Instructions 

  • Heat up the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan. When the olive oil is hot enough, add the onions and sauté them, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes—or until they're sweating and translucent. Add a pinch of salt.
  • Then, add the garlic, crushed chili flakes, and anchovies to the saucepan. Stir everything well and let it all simmer for another minute or so, until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the tomato paste and vegetable broth, and stir until the tomato paste has dissolved and everything is simmering.
  • Bring the crushed tomatoes to the saucepan along with the fresh herbs and some more crushed red pepper if you'd like.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, cook the noodles. Drain and set them aside in a large pot.
  • Taste the sauce and, if necessary, add more salt. Once the sauce is seasoned to your preference, you can serve it as is if you like a chunkier sauce. If you like a smoother sauce like I do, blend it with an immersion blender, until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Spoon the sauce over the pappardelle noodles and gently toss them around to coat them. Transfer the pappardelle to bowls, place about a tablespoon or so of burrata on top, and finish things off with an extra sprinkle of crushed red peppers, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a few sprigs of fresh basil.