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Venetian-Style Spaghetti all'Arrabbiata


  • Salt

  • 1 pound spaghetti

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1 pinch saffron threads

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 2 Fresno or other medium-hot red chili peppers, very thinly sliced (I leave in the seeds – the hotter the better! – but remove them if you want to dial back the heat level a bit)

  • 4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water.

While the pasta is working, in a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock and saffron to a boil. Lower the heat to a low simmer to keep warm.

In a deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid,heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium heat. Stir in the chili peppers and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and saffron stock; cover and cook over medium-high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the tomatoes burst, about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and mash the tomatoes a bit with a potato masher. Stir in the parsley.

Toss the pasta with the sauce and a handful of cheese. Add a splash of the reserved starchy cooking water to combine. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls; top with more cheese, if desired.