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Pasta Jollof And Arrabbiata: Two Sides Of The Same Coin

All road leads to Italia! Yes!, Italy; home of Pasta. Italy can boast of many classics, one of the classics is pasta all’ Arrabbiata. This dish has a replica in the Nigerian cuisine: Jollof pasta. The word ‘Arrabbiata’ means ‘angry’ because it describes the extreme spice ness of the sauce. It is traditionally cooked with penne (a type of pasta) and pecorino (a type of cheese).

The Arrabbiata sauce is a tomato based sauce like the Jollof sauce for spaghetti and rice. However, the major difference between pasta all’Arrabbiata and Jollof pasta is heavy reliance on seasoning by the latter. Jollof pasta depends on processed seasoning in order to derive the palatable Nigerian taste.


You might be wondering what the Nigerian taste is? Well, I will be writing on that issue later. It is easier to cook pasta all’Arrabbiata and the recipe says a lot about the similarities in both dishes but pasta all’Arrabbiata is healthier because of it’s use of fresh and simple ingredients. Here is my recipe to make pasta all’Arrabbiata.


  • 400g Eliche/penne
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 4tbsp Olive oil
  • 1tbsp Tomato paste
  • 600gCanned crushes tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Grana padano (for serving)
  • Basil


  1. Season a pot of boiling water generously with salt. Add pasta and cook until just shy of al dente, approximately less than the package recommends. Drain, reserving approximately 1/4 cup of pasta water.
  2. While the pasta cooks, mince the garlic,add olive oil to large frying pan then add minced garlic and chili flakes. Sauté for approximately 3 minutes over medium heat, then add tomato paste and canned chopped tomatoes. Let simmer for approximately 5 mins.
  3. Add reserved pasta water and cooked pasta to the tomato sauce. Toss over medium heat until the pasta is coated in the sauce. Season with salt if needed.
  4. Serve immediately with freshly grated grana padano, a drizzle of olive oil and basil. Enjoy.
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