Pasta

Penne all’Arrabbiata: Spicy Italian Tomato Pasta

May 17, 2020 by Emily

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Penne all’ Arrabbiata is a super simple Italian pasta recipe made with penne pasta in a beautiful spicy tomato sauce that’s super quick and easy to make. If you’re looking for an easy dish with a spicy kick then this is for you!

An overhead shot of penne pasta with arrabbiata sauce in a bowl

Arrabbiata literally means angry in Italian which is such a perfect name for this pasta sauce because of its fiery heat and bright red colour.

Originating in Rome it’s just as loved as Spaghetti alla Carbonara made with a few, basic yet high-quality ingredients.

Traditionally arrabbiata sauce is tossed with penne pasta but it’s such a versatile sauce and will go with pretty much any pasta shape you like!

Using fresh or dried chilli

I’ve had pasta arrabbiata with both fresh chilli and dried red pepper flakes in Italy and both are equally as delicious.

I pretty much use what I have on hand so if you don’t have fresh red chilli use dried red pepper flakes and vice versa.

Do bear in mind that the heat of the chilli will vary so you may only need half a fresh chilli or a whole one depending on how hot it is and what your tolerance is.

Top Tip: To get an idea of how hot the red chilli is cut a small piece and dab it on the end of your tongue. If it comes in a packet then there should also be written advice on how hot the chillies are.

The same goes for red pepper flakes, different brands vary in heat so add just a little, taste the sauce and add more to your liking.

A close up of penne arrabbiata in a rustic bowl with a fork

How to make Penne all’ Arrabbiata – step by step

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions until al dente (around 8 minutes).

Heat the olive oil in a large pan on a medium heat and add the garlic and chilli (dried or fresh) (photo 1).

Saute for 1-2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant then add the tomatoes. Add 1/4 cup (60ml) of water to the can and swirl it around so you get every last drop of tomato then pour it into the sauce. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper (photos 2-4).

Step by step photos showing how to saute garlic and chilli to make a pasta sauce

Use a potato masher to crush the tomatoes in the pan and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked (photo 5).

Top Tip: You can also crush the tomatoes with your hands before adding them to the skillet/pan.

Once cooked add the penne pasta to the sauce and toss to combine (photo 6).

Add a little reserved pasta sauce to emulsify the sauce and add flavour then serve with a sprinkling of fresh parsley or a little parmesan (photos 7 & 8).

Step by step photos showing how to make penne arrabbiata

Other ways to use this sauce

There are so many ways you can use this spicy tomato sauce from pasta bakes, with meat or fish or even use as a pizza sauce if you love a spicy kick.

Here are some recipes you could follow replacing the tomato sauce with the arrabbiata version:

A close up of a fork picking up penne pasta from a bowl

Top tips for making this recipe

  • Use the highest quality tomatoes you can find for the best results.
  • You can use fresh or dried chilli for this recipe and add as little or as much as you like just remember you can always add but can’t take it away so always taste as you go.
  • Although you can switch between fresh and dried chilli do not use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic as you won’t get the same delicious flavour.
  • This sauce will keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days or can be frozen in suitable containers. Thaw completely as needed, reheat and toss with pasta.

More easy Italian pasta recipes you might like

If you tried this Penne all’ Arrabbiata recipe or any other recipes on my blog please be sure to leave me a comment below to let me know how you got on, I love hearing from you. You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.

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5 from 1 vote

Penne Arrabbiata

Penne all' Arrabbiata is a super simple Italian pasta recipe made with penne pasta in a beautiful spicy tomato sauce that's super quick and easy to make. If you're looking for an easy dish with a spicy kick then this is for you!
Course pasta
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 423kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 14 oz penne pasta (4 cups/400g)
  • 14 oz canned whole peeled plum tomatoes san marzano or high quality (400g)
  • 2 garlic cloves finely sliced
  • 1 whole red chilli seeds removed and finely sliced or sub ½-1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • freshly chopped parsley for serving

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente (around 8-10 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or non-stick pan and saute the garlic and chilli until fragrant (around 1 minute).
  • Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Rinse the tomato can out with ¼ cup (60ml) of water and add it to the sauce with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Use a potato masher to crush the tomatoes in the pan (you can also crush them with your hands before adding).
  • Simmer the sauce on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is ready.
  • Reserve ¼ cup of pasta water then drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss the pasta in the sauce and add reserved pasta water as needed, serve with fresh parsley or a little parmesan.

Notes

  • Use the highest quality tomatoes you can find for the best results.
  • You can use fresh or dried chilli for this recipe and add as little or as much as you like just remember you can always add but can't take it away so always taste as you go.
  • Although you can switch between fresh and dried chilli do not use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic as you won't get the same delicious flavour.
  • This sauce will keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days or can be frozen in suitable containers. Thaw completely as needed, reheat and toss with pasta.

Nutrition

Calories: 423kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 444mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 223IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We'd love you see what you're getting up to in the kitchen!

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Angela
    May 21, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Oh yum! How tasty does this look! Great tip about the chilli heat test as they really can be SO different! But the flavour, kick and the tomato sauce is such a winnng combo here!5 stars

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