This vegan summer bucatini all'Arrabbiata with daikon crisps is brimming with saucy, zesty flavor. The arrabbiata sauce comes together in 40 minutes, most of which is simmer time. To take this dish to the next level, be sure to include the daikon-sage crisps. They're optional but add that extra something special that takes the flavors from classic to wow-worthy. Thin slices of daikon radish are pan-fried until crisp and sprinkled with sea salt and ground sage.
For me, a typical morning looks something like this. . .
Workout, meditate for 10–15 minutes, shower and get ready, head to the kitchen to make myself tea and a smoothie, sip said tea and smoothie while replying to emails.
I rarely stray from this routine because it's simple, predictable, and sets the tone for each day.
One morning a few weeks ago, I woke up feeling antsy and restless, thinking about all of the things I should be doing and feeling dissatisfied with my own efforts to follow through and make things happen. I made my way through the first portions of my routine and was feeling slightly better but my usual, happy-go-lucky attitude was nowhere to be found. In an effort to rediscover a more positive spirit, I decided to forgo the tea making routine and stroll to a nearby coffee shop instead, hoping a walk and some fresh air would do the trick.
When I first started walking, I found myself fixating on these tiny, meaningless issues—the cars honking loudly, broken glass on the sidewalk, the fact that my purse was catching on my shorts and causing them to twist uncomfortably, etc. But as I crossed the intersection leading up to the coffee shop, I saw a familiar face. It was a kind homeless gentleman I'd briefly chatted with last fall. Just the sight of him was enough to soften my state. Then, as I was about to say good morning, he smiled and enthusiastically declared, "Goooood morning! Today is a beautiful day. . . the sun is shining and we're still alive!"
This kind man lacks many of the material comforts and securities that most would consider necessities but there he stood, beaming with happiness and appreciation for the mere fact that the sun was shining and he was able to witness a new day. Where many would see scarcity, this man saw abundance. So much so that he willingly shared his good vibes and gratitude with strangers and passerby. And with just one sentence, he shifted my entire perspective. I had assumed my less than stellar attitude was a forgone conclusion in light of the circumstances around me when, in reality, it was simply the attitude I had chosen.
I immediately jotted his quote onto the chalkboard in our kitchen once I arrived home, and I've left it there as reminder. No matter how much or how little we have, there exists two perspectives—a void of scarcity and a mountain of abundance—and the one we see is simply the one we're looking for.
I'm not going to pretend that this pasta recipe is somehow related to and/or a metaphor for the above thoughts. I simply wanted to share the story because the interaction left such a lasting positive impact. Thank you for giving me the space to do so, although I suppose you didn't really have much say in the matter, huh? ;)
This pasta is one you'll want to twirl around your fork time and time again. It has that comforting effect that only pasta can elicit yet boasts light, zesty, and fresh summer flavors. Whether you've got a garden that's soon-to-be overflowing with juicy grape tomatoes or you're craving a summer meal that hits the spot, this is your dish.
Arrabbiata, literally meaning "angry", is marinara sauce with a kick of heat. This particular arrabbiata relies on lots of fresh grape tomatoes (as opposed to all canned) to give it a light, summery twist. Grape tomatoes are sweeter, more flavorful, and less acidic than larger varieties, so you get more bang (and less tang) for your buck.
The arrabbiata sauce comes together in 40 minutes, most of which is simmer time. This is great news because it means you can multitask and prepare the garnish (i.e., daikon crisps) and pasta while the sauce is getting, well, saucy.
If you want to elevate this dish to the next level of delightful, be sure to include the daikon-sage crisps. They're optional but add that extra something special that takes the flavors from classic to wow-worthy. Thin slices of daikon radish are pan-fried until crisp and sprinkled with sea salt and ground sage.
I never would have thought to combine sage + daikon + arrabbiata pasta but recently had the combination at a restaurant when they whipped up the dish on a whim after I mentioned being vegan. It's truly one of the most unexpected yet delightful flavor combinations I've ever tasted, and I was determined to recreate something similar to share with you (and to make time and time again at home).
Summer Bucatini all'Arrabbiata with Daikon Crisps
- 2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 dried red chiles, finely chopped or generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes or more to taste
- 2 pints grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 (14-ounce) can crushed san marzano tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound gluten-free or regular bucatini pasta, cooked according to package instructions
Daikon-Sage Crisps (Optional)
- 1 small daikon radish, peeled
- ¼ cup heat-tolerant oil (e.g., grapeseed)
- 1 teaspoon ground sage or 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 lemon (for spritzing), halved
- Ground sage, rubbed sage, or chopped fresh sage
For the Arrabbiata Sauce
- In a large sauté pan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, and chile and cook for 6 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the grape tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and sea salt; reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes soften and the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
- Then, stir in the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for another minute, or until the balsamic scent mellows.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and season to taste with black pepper.
For the Pasta
- Prepare the pasta while the sauce is simmering, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
For the Daikon-Sage Crisps (Optional)
- Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, shave the daikon radish into very thin strips (about 3 inches long and ½ to 1 inch thick). You want about ½ to 1 cup loosely packed strips.
- Line a large plate with a few layers of paper towels and set within reach of the stove.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the daikon radish strips to the pan in a single layer (you will need to do this in batches), and pan-fry for 4 minutes, or until their edges become wavy and golden-brown. Use tongs to remove the crisps, shaking off excess oil, and carefully transfer to the lined pan and sprinkle with a bit of the sage and sea salt, to taste.
- Repeat with the remaining daikon radish strips.
- Divide the bucatini between bowls and top with the arrabbiata sauce. Spritz with fresh lemon juice for a pop of brightness and sprinkle sage if desired. Top with the daikon-sage crisps and serve immediately.