Give Lasagna A Spicy Upgrade By Swapping Marinara For Arrabbiata Sauce

Lasagna is a favorite meal of many, and it's no surprise why. It is filled with hearty, satisfying ingredients like thick noodles and gooey cheese and it has a warm and comforting flavor that is at once nostalgic and layered — especially when cooked using a high-quality sauce. If your classic lasagna recipe is getting a bit too familiar for you, we have a recommendation that is sure to spice things up. All you need to do is replace the traditional tomato sauce with arrabbiata instead.

Arrabbiata sauce is a spicy Italian tomato sauce that can literally be translated as "angry sauce." It originated in the city of Rome and is very similar in ingredients and composition to your classic tomato sauce, except for the addition of fresh red pepper flakes. These flakes are what give the sauce its intense, fiery heat that engages your palate and stimulates your senses. This spice also helps to cut through the richness of classic lasagna with its heavy layers of cheese and meat. Being spicy isn't the only thing arrabbiata brings to the table, though; the presence of chili pepper flakes in the sauce also adds a subtle amount of smokiness that can make the dish even more exciting and sophisticated.

Making the spicy switch

You can easily find pre-made arrabbiata sauce at the grocery store alongside other pasta sauces, but the homemade stuff offers the best possible flavor and presents an opportunity to adjust the seasoning — especially the spice level — to your preferences. Start out with the quick sauce mentioned in our penne arrabbiata recipe as a baseline, then adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to suit your personal spice tolerance. When it comes time to add it to your lasagna, you can substitute it in an equal amount to the marinara sauce that is called for in the ingredients list. To ensure the most punchy and flavorful sauce, be sure to use red pepper flakes that are brightly colored and fragrant, as these traits are signs that the pepper is fresh.

If you happen to have leftover arrabbiata sauce after making your mouth-watering spicy lasagna, you can use it on pretty much any other pasta or any dish that typically calls for marinara. In addition to noodles, we recommend pouring it over meatballs or using it as a dipping sauce for arancini and mozzarella sticks. It can also make an excellent spread for toast, burgers, and sandwiches, so don't be afraid to slather it on with gusto and enjoy the heat with every meal.