Perfect Pasta Fra' Diavolo

My little boy loves foods with a kick, and this is his favorite spicy pasta dish. It is made with good quality tomatoes, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and handfuls of fresh and fragrant herbs. This pasta is requested again and again and makes the perfect addition to any holiday table.

Perfect Pasta Fra' Diavolo


For 4 Person(s)

For the Pasta:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon salt for pasta water
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 sweet, fresh onion
  • 14 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 14 ounces whole canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, oregano)
  • fresh basil



Nonna's Cheese Grater
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  1. Cook the spaghetti in heavily salted water per package directions. Drain, set aside, and keep warm.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and let cook for a minute.
  4. Place the onion in a food processor and puree. Add it to the pot and cook for 4 minutes.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir.
  6. Pick up the whole tomatoes and squish them with clean hands. Add them to the pot along with their juices.
  7. Add the salt, pepper, and sugar.
  8. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes with a lid on.
  9. Remove the lid and add the herbs and Parmesan to the sauce.
  10. Taste the sauce to ensure it is balanced. It should be fragrant, flavorful, and slightly sweet. Add more salt or sugar as needed.
  11. Combine the pasta and sauce in a large serving dish. Toss gently.
  12. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

This sauce is very forgiving and can be adjusted to taste. If you don't like things as sweet, feel free to cut down on the sugar. Also, if you like more spiciness, increase the red pepper flakes or the garlic. You can't go wrong with this sauce.


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