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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Penne all’Arrabbiata Recipe | Authentic Italian Spicy Tomato Sauce

Arrabbiata (literally “angry”) is a very popular spicy tomato sauce, but far too many people rely on jarred, store-bought versions. It’s so simple and quick to make that, in the time it takes to boil the pasta, you can cook your own and have a result far beyond anything you’ll find at the store. While we do think that there are better spicy pasta dishes out there, this is a classic for a reason and an easy dish to whip up with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry.

Penne all'Arrabbiata Recipe | Authentic Italian Spicy Tomato Sauce

You can easily adjust the spiciness of the sauce by using more or less chili pepper (and remember, you can always add more once the sauce is cooking). Just about any type of fresh, spicy pepper will work so feel free to use your favorite. When we don’t have fresh Calabrian peppers on hand, we find that Thai peppers work well for adding neutral heat to the sauce.

Watch the Pasta Grammar video:


Makes: 3 to 4 servings

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

For this recipe, you will need:

  • Salt

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled

  • 2 fresh chili peppers, diced (see above)

  • 14 ounces (400 g) canned whole peeled tomatoes

  • 12 ounces (340 g) penne rigate pasta

  • Chopped parsley for topping (optional)

Put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it generously. While it comes up to temp, heat the olive oil, peeled garlic clove and diced chili peppers in a large pan. When the garlic and peppers begin to sizzle, add the tomatoes.

Crush the tomatoes with a fork, salt them to taste, and bring the sauce to a simmer over medium/low heat. Keep the sauce simmering while you cook the pasta. If the tomatoes thicken too much, you can spoon in a little of the pasta water to thin the sauce as needed.

When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the pasta. Set a timer for 2 to 3 minutes less than the recommended “al dente” cook time. As the pasta nears completion, remove and discard the garlic clove from the sauce.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked pasta into the sauce and spoon in a little extra pasta water. Stir all together over medium/high heat until the pasta is al dente to your taste.

Serve immediately, topped with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Buon appetito!


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