When Making Arrabbiata Sauce In Advance, Consider Spice Levels

It has long been established that tomato-based pasta sauces are among the easiest of all sauces that will keep well in the freezer. They are a cinch to make in large batches, making them perfect to prepare in advance. And if you're one for a spicy sauce, there is no better one to make than arrabbiata.

This sauce, translated to "angry" in Italian, is a fiery tomato-based pasta sauce originating from The Eternal City, Rome. Used as a swap for regular marinara sauce, arrabbiata ups the flavor levels with the addition of chopped dried red chili peppers or red pepper flakes for heat, and pancetta for salt and savory depth. It's a versatile sauce that can be used with virtually any type of pasta. However, when you are whipping up your large batch of advance arrabbiata, you need to consider just how spicy you want to make it.

Though this sauce freezes well, the arrabbiata you put into the freezer may not be the arrabbiata that comes out of the freezer. That's because, even though the sauce is freezing, the spices will continue to grow in intensity. So what may have gone into the freezer as a milder arrabbiata, may come out more spicy than you intended.

Err on the side of less

If the concept of hot red peppers gaining in strength when frozen baffles you, keep in mind that there are several vegetables and spices, including onions, bay leaves, and curry powder, that will intensify in flavor when frozen. As far as the hot peppers are concerned, they contain capsaicin, which is the chemical compound that provides their heat. Capsaicin is insoluble in water, meaning that when it is frozen, the heat will become far more concentrated than it was before. Therefore, the chilis you freeze will be hotter than the fresh ones on your counter.

When it comes to making arrabbiata sauce in large batches for freezing, consider using half of the spice you normally would for a fresh batch. As the peppers will continue to develop their heat during the freezing process, the sauce will likely have reached its desired spiciness by the time you are ready to use it. If not, you can always add more spice once the sauce is defrosted and comes back to heat.

While arrabbiata is known for being fiery, it is not meant to be overpowering to the point of becoming unpleasant. And while there are some spices that should never be frozen, hot red peppers or pepper flakes are not one of them. Be careful with your spices and go for less.