I finally and accidentally stumbled upon the missing ingredient that the chefs at Enoteca Vespaio use in their arrabbiata sauce, at least in my opinion: COOKED TOMATO PASTE.
I was really hungry a few days ago and I had just finished my third (6pm, 8pm, 11pm) dinner and as I was getting close to the bottom on my linguine… I was drinking the sauce… it had an intense similarity to something that I loved… and then it hit me! ENOTECA!!!!!
It’s definitely cooked tomato paste that transformed a light spicy tomato sauce to a more complex sauce with depth.
[100% organic, shrimp from Gulf of Mexico, octopus from India]
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- ½ cup crushed tomatoes with juice
- 3 TBS EVOO
- 1 TBS butter
- 2 TBS red chili pepper flakes (more if you like hotness!)
- 2 TBS tomato paste
- 1-2 cups pasta water
- ½ lb shrimp, peeled to the tail and deveined
- ¼ lb octopus
- Few drops of oil
- Salt & pepper
- 1 TBS parsley, finely chopped
Boil the linguine in salted water and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook 1 minute short of al dente, remove from heat and drain (pasta should still be quite firm) and keep warm, save 1-2 cups of pasta water.
Melt and heat up the butter and olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add in the onions and shallots. Cook for a couple of minutes, making sure not to burn or have coloration. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic. Put the tomato paste into the pan and cook it well, making sure to mix around with everything else in the pan. Cook for 1 minute.
Then add the crushed tomatoes along with the juices, the red pepper flakes, and some of the pasta water, if mixture is too dry. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, season with salt & pepper. Add the seafood into the sauce and let it cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cooked pasta with the sauce and toss well.
Sprinkle chopped parsley over pasta and serve with sliced bread. Eat immediately!