I just ate luck with a jar pasta sauce from Meijer. It was called a Arrabbiata sauce. It was good enough, but there was nothing “angry” about it at all, very even tempered in all honesty. But it got me to thinking about how spicy it is traditionally? When I make, it I assume I go spicier than the average, but have no actual idea what the average is.
Depends on your tolerance, but a typical arrabiata sauce has 2-4 teaspoons of red pepper flakes and a lot of garlic.
Most jarred sauces, salsas and dips are uniformly bland and mild to me, regardless of the label’s claim. There are some exceptions, of course, but I dislike prepared pasta sauces because they’re uniformly tasteless.
That feels a bit heavy-handed to me, but it depends on how much sauce you’re making. What I typically do for this kind of research is to search Youtube “arrabbiata ricetta” and watch a few videos to get a good sense. This video’s recipe, for instance, is 1 kg peeled tomatoes, 4 garlic cloves, 2 hot peppers, 150 mL olive oil, 1 kilo penne rigate. Another recipe I found ups the chiles to 4, and keeps the garlic at two cloves for that amount of tomato. I’ve only had it once in Italy, and it wasn’t overly spicy. It had a reasonable kick, but nothing I would really call really spicy. Looking all around various sites in Italian and English that have recipes they claim to be “traditional” what I generally find is for 1 pound of tomatoes, you can use 1-2 chiles (sometimes fresh, sometimes dried – I make it both ways), 1-2 garlic cloves, and finish with chopped parsley. (I make it much more your way, @ChefGuy, but I don’t believe it’s typically served that spicy or garlicky. Granted – you may have more experience in eating it in Italy – I only have the lone data point, plus a lot of data points eating it around Europe in Italian restaurants, but I’m not counting those.)
I used this recipe as a guide. Seems like a lot of pepper flakes to me, also, especially on the high end, but even Mario Batali’s recipe calls for a tablespoon of flakes for a pound of pasta. Interestingly, though, Batali’s has no garlic at all in it.
That’s interesting. Three teaspoons for a pound of pasta, so I guess not too far outside the parameters I found. And all depends on how hot these peppers are to begin with, of course. No garlic? That’s a new one on me. For me, arrabbiata has always been a hit of spice and garlic with the freshness of parsley balancing it out, finished preferably with pecorino romano for its saltiness and bit of funk. Does he use an onion instead? I have made it with onion only when I’ve been out of garlic, but it’s a bit of a different dish, with the onion’s sweetness in it, instead of garlic’s pungency.
When I was living on a pretty tight food budget in Hungary about twenty years ago, arrabbiata was one of my go-tos, as I almost always had the pantry ingredients at the ready – the parsley was the only one I might have to pop out to the shop for. I would use a Hungarian hot pepper paste (just hot chiles and salt with a stabilizer in it) called Erõs Pista for the peppers if I didn’t have any flakes or fresh chiles around. I actually prefer it slightly made with the paste or fresh peppers to using dried chiles, but they’re both good and slightly different. Fruity vs earthy.
No onions, either. I think perhaps the recipe is missing some ingredients. He gets repeatedly called out in the comments on the lack of garlic.
My go-to in early days on the road was frying up some local sausage, potatoes and onion in a pan together. I still like that dish.
Interesting. So far as I know it, arrabbiata is a dish that specifically calls out for garlic. A lot of traditional Italian recipes (I know I’ve mentioned this before) have either one or the other in it, but not both. Like amatriciana has onions, not garlic. I picked up one cookbook while in Italy and was initially surprised both by the simplicity of the recipes in terms of ingredients and spicing, and that not a single one had onion and garlic in the same recipe. Of course this is subject to regional variation, but seems to be a general rule. I suspect the Sicilians didn’t have such rules, as the American idea of Italian cuisine is very much influenced by immigrants from that neck of the woods. I haven’t done enough research to know for certain, though.
I am completely flabbergasted. I always use both, but checking some recipes in the Cucchiaio d’Argento and on line I see you are right. Even ragù a la bolognese does not have garlic, nor does lasagne!
What shall I do now? Change my cooking, or change the name of my favourite dishes?
I once spent an hour watching YouTube Italian chefs go apoplectic about Americans putting Garlic in Alfredo, Carbonara and Lasagna. At some point it became less amusing and more annoying and I decided I am so glad I learned Italian-American basic food rather than pure Italian, cause having a stick that far up your ass to keep food boring, is just tedious.
I would agree with the Italians on the carbonara, though. Never done Alfredo.
I watch a lot of YouTube cooking videos (as well as do a lot of text research) and I have to say, the Italians do tend to be the most vocal and rigid about their cooking traditions, judging by the comments on those videos. It’s pretty amusing. Though they are not the only ones. There are a number of videos of abuelas savaging Rachel Ray’s attempt at posole and a number of reaction videos of Thais’ (and some other Asians) befuddlement at a Jamie Oliver green curry recipe. People can be proud and defensive of their heritage cuisine—I get it.
I agree with no garlic in carbonara as well. As for Alfredo, that did develop in Italy, but it’s not really well known in Italy (though there are similar dishes with butter and Parmesan, like al burro.)
I think I posted this one minute clip not too long ago in another thread but it’s hysterical. The stunned look on his face when she makes ‘the mistake’ and the reactions of the others when he says The Line, lol.
I’m rolling here. I need to work that phrase into my vocabulary.
For me, the best Italian dishes are those that have the least ingredients: aglio e olio, cacio e pepe and carbonara, primarily. These are not necessarily easy to make, of course. You have to pay attention to get it right, but the result is heaven.
Absolutely agree. Quality of ingredients and technique. Cacio e pepe is so minimalist, yet one of my favorites when done right. I like buying different varieties of peppercorns and using that dish as a showcase for them and to get a good sense of their flavor.
One of my favorite tomato sauces is Marcella Hazan’s recipe that is just tomatoes, butter, and an onion cut in half. (Salt to taste, of course.) No herbs even. (And most Italian sauce recipes I’ve seen are not heavy on herbs, anyway.)
That was a revelation for me as well. I recently made a beef short-rib ragu that had a handful of thyme leaves and a couple of bay leaves to season 2 pounds of meat and sauce. That was it for herbs.
Oh, and I’ve done the Hazan recipe; it’s terrific.
I’ve cooked Alfredo for the first time the other day, and as I recall correctly, it had 500 g pasta, 200 g Parmesan, 80 g butter, 400 ml cream and two cloves of garlic. It came out very good, but I don’t remember the source of the recipe and if it was American, Italian or German.
I know that for the original Alfredo sauce, you use some of the pasta cooking water instead of cream, but I liked it that way.
ETA: I forgot one more ingredient for the Alfredo sauce I made, fresh parsley.
Yeah, there’s no cream in “traditional” Alfredo. I put “traditional” in quotes because, like I said, it’s not a widely eaten dish there, at least under that name. Wikipedia tells me that " In Italy, meanwhile, fettuccine al burro is generally considered home cooking and fettuccine Alfredo is generally scoffed at by Italian writers."
It’s supposed to be just butter and parmesan.
Definitely not Italian. They don’t use garlic or cream(officially). Only Parmesan and butter.
Not sure what the rest of the world does, but your version is the estandard American version.
HINT: The butter, Parmesan, cream and garlic version is much better.
I would say it’s different, but not better.