Enojado Diablo Salsa

Arrabbiata (meaning “angry” in Italian) is a rich Roman sauce of garlic, tomatoes, and red chili cooked in olive oil that is commonly applied to pasta or fish. Basil is sometimes added, although the chefs in Italy generally do not use it. I am told that Fra Diavolo (Italian for "Brother Devil") is another name, of Italian-American origin and rarely served in Italy, for the same sauce. Both names derive from the pungency added by the capsicum content.

My Southwestern version, below, combines the two names, translates them into Spanish, and literally means “angry devil” sauce. For dietary reasons, I have tried to minimize the amount of olive oil required, use New Mexico chiles, and substitute cilantro for the basil.

The result, of course, is not an authentic arrabbiata sauce; if you want that, look elsewhere. But, if you want a sauce that is more reminiscent of Santa Fe than Rome, has a subtle, but healthy kick to it, and makes a fine accompaniment to pasta, meatballs, and Lobster*, look no further. If you would like it less angry, halve the chipotle.

  • 1 small onion, grated or finely minced
  • 2 tsp garlic purée
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chipotle chile, canned, in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tsp <salt>
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 (18-oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, minced

In a 2 qt sauce pan heated to medium low combine oil, onions, garlic, and chipotle and sauté until soft. Add bay leaf, oregano, <salt>, pepper and heat briefly.

Add the crushed tomatoes and cilantro, heat to a simmer, and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Taste and correct spices and seasonings. Remove the bay leaf.

Serve with your favorite shape of pasta or with homemade meatballs or with fish.