Arrabbiata is traditionally a pasta sauce. And it’s not one of those sauces that has been around for millenia. Chili is not traditional in Italian cooking, after all. Were it not for a cook’s attempt to add his own spin on Amatriciana sauce.
Amatriciana sauce is old. The earliest documentation dates back to 1790 so it had been around before that year. It originated in the town of Amatrice in the Lazio region. The sauce has been so culturally significant that it is protected by law.
Story has it that sometime between the 1950s and 1960s, there was a trattoria owner in Rome who wanted to add something non-traditional to the menu. So, he added more garlic and even more chilies to Amatriciana sauce and Arrabiata sauce was born.
Innovation, you see. If no cook ever modified existing recipes, new ones will never be invented. So, although arrabbiata is meant to go with pasta, I dare cook chicken in the spicy sauce. Innovation.
- ½ kilogram chicken drumsticks or thighs - or a combination
- ¼ cup flour
- olive oil
- 2 tablespoons garlic - minced
- ¼ cup onion - finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 pinch oregano - dried
- 2 tablespoons sliced black olives - drained
- 1 tablespoon capers - drained
- 1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- chopped parsley
Brown the chicken
- Preheat the oven to 475F.
- Wipe the chicken with paper towels. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper. Mix well working the salt and pepper into the meat.
- Line a baking pan with non-stick paper. Spray or brush the paper lightly with oil.
- Dredge each piece of chicken in flour (make sure to coat completely) and arrange on the prepared tray.
- Drizzle each piece of chicken with about half a teaspoon of olive oil.
- Brown the chicken at 475F for 20 minutes.
Make the arrabbiata sauce
- Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic, onion, chili flakes and oregano. Saute until fragrant.
- Throw in the olives and capers. Cook for another minute.
- Pour in the chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle in salt, pepper and a little sugar. How much salt pepper and sugar? To taste. Simmer, covered, until reduced by a quarter, about 10 minutes.
Braise the browned chicken in arrabbiata sauce
- Take the browned chicken out of the oven and add to the sauce.
- Simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is done and the sauce is very thick.
Serve the chicken arrabbiata
- Arrange the chicken pieces on a plate.
- Drizzle the remaining sauce over them.
- Sprinkle with parsley.
- Serve the chicken arrabbiata with rice, pasta or bread.