Penne all’Arrabbiata: Easy tomato pasta


Penne all’Arrabbiata is a beloved Italian pasta dish renowned for its vibrant flavors and simplicity. Originating from the Lazio region, particularly around Rome, this dish has earned its name “Arrabbiata,” meaning “angry” in Italian, due to its fiery tomato sauce infused with garlic and red chili peppers. It’s a quintessential example of Italian culinary tradition, offering a perfect balance of spicy heat and rich tomato goodness that appeals to both spice enthusiasts and pasta lovers alike. Whether enjoyed as a quick weekday dinner or a comforting weekend indulgence, Penne all’Arrabbiata promises a delightful culinary experience that embodies the essence of Italian cuisine.

Origins And History Of Penne Recipe

Penne all’Arrabbiata traces its roots to the central Italian region of Lazio, with Rome being a significant cultural hub where this dish gained popularity. The name “Arrabbiata” reflects the fiery nature of its sauce, which traditionally consists of tomatoes, garlic, red chili peppers, and olive oil.

This dish is believed to have emerged as a simple yet flavorful way to prepare pasta using readily available ingredients in Italian kitchens. Its spicy profile not only adds a kick to the dish but also enhances the robust flavors of the tomatoes and garlic. Over time, Penne all’Arrabbiata has become a staple in Italian cuisine, cherished for its straightforward preparation and bold taste.

As with many traditional dishes, variations may exist across different regions or even among families, each adding its own unique twist while staying true to the fundamental elements of spicy tomato sauce and pasta. Today, Penne all’Arrabbiata remains a beloved classic that continues to be enjoyed in homes and restaurants worldwide, celebrating the rich culinary heritage of Italy.

Penne all’Arrabbiata

Serving Suggestions For Penne Recipe

Penne all’Arrabbiata is best served immediately after preparation to fully enjoy its robust flavors and spicy kick. Here are some serving suggestions to elevate your dining experience:

  1. Garnishes: Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley or basil over the pasta just before serving to add a pop of freshness and color.
  2. Cheese: Grate some Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese on top for a savory finish. The saltiness of the cheese complements the spiciness of the sauce.
  3. Crusty Bread: Serve with crusty Italian bread or garlic bread to mop up the delicious sauce.
  4. Side Salad: Pair with a simple green salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to balance out the richness of the pasta.
  5. Wine Pairing: Enjoy Penne all’Arrabbiata with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti or Sangiovese, which complements the tomato-based sauce and spicy flavors.
  6. Family Style: Serve in a large bowl at the center of the table for a cozy, communal dining experience where everyone can help themselves to seconds.

By following these suggestions, you can create a memorable meal centered around Penne all’Arrabbiata, perfect for both casual dinners and special occasions.

Variations Of Penne Recipe

Penne all’Arrabbiata is a versatile dish that lends itself well to various interpretations and adaptations. Here are a few popular variations to suit different tastes and dietary preferences:

  1. Add Protein:
    • Chicken: Sauté bite-sized pieces of chicken breast or thigh until cooked through, then add to the sauce along with the pasta.
    • Shrimp: Quickly cook shrimp in the sauce until pink and opaque, adding a seafood twist to the dish.
    • Italian Sausage: Crumble and brown Italian sausage in a pan before adding it to the sauce for a hearty, savory flavor.
  2. Vegetarian/Vegan Options:
    • Vegetarian: Skip the meat and add sautéed vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms to the sauce.
    • Vegan: Use a plant-based protein such as tofu or tempeh, or simply load up on veggies for a satisfying vegan version.
  3. Creamy Arrabbiata:
    • Add a touch of cream or half-and-half to the sauce to create a creamy texture. This variation mellows out the spiciness while adding richness.
  4. Herb Infusion:
    • Enhance the sauce with fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, or basil, either by stirring them into the sauce during cooking or sprinkling them as a garnish.
  5. Cheese Lover’s Twist:
    • Stir in some creamy ricotta or mascarpone cheese just before serving for a luxurious and creamy texture.
  6. Spice Level Adjustments:
    • Control the heat level by adjusting the amount of red chili flakes or fresh chili peppers used. For a milder version, remove the seeds and membranes from the chili peppers before adding them to the sauce.
  7. Whole Grain Penne:
    • Substitute regular penne with whole wheat or gluten-free penne for a healthier twist without compromising on taste.

These variations allow you to customize Penne all’Arrabbiata according to your preferences or dietary requirements, ensuring a delicious and satisfying meal every time.

Penne all’Arrabbiata

Storage and Shelf Life For Penne Recipe

Penne all’Arrabbiata can be stored and enjoyed later, though it’s best when freshly made. Here’s how to store and manage its shelf life:

  1. Refrigeration: Allow the pasta to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container or sealable plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing: Penne all’Arrabbiata can be frozen for longer storage. Place the cooled pasta in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, ensuring to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
  3. Thawing and Reheating:
    • Refrigerator Method: Transfer the frozen pasta to the refrigerator the night before you plan to eat it. Allow it to thaw overnight, then reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through.
    • Direct Reheating: Alternatively, you can reheat the frozen pasta directly from the freezer. Place it in a saucepan with a splash of water or broth to prevent sticking, then heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
  4. Quality Considerations: Keep in mind that pasta may become slightly softer upon reheating, and the flavors of the sauce may intensify. Add a splash of water or broth while reheating to help revive the sauce consistency.
  5. Safety: Always ensure that reheated pasta reaches a temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s safe to eat.

By following these storage and reheating guidelines, you can enjoy Penne all’Arrabbiata even after it’s been prepared, preserving its flavors and quality for future meals.

Health Benefits Of Penne Recipe

Penne all’Arrabbiata offers several health benefits, especially when prepared with wholesome ingredients and balanced portions:

  1. Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: The tomato-based sauce in Penne all’Arrabbiata is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like potassium and manganese. These nutrients support immune function, bone health, and overall wellbeing.
  2. Antioxidant Properties: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as lycopene, which may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and certain cancers.
  3. Spices for Health: The addition of red chili peppers not only provides heat but also contains capsaicin, known for its anti-inflammatory and metabolism-boosting properties.
  4. Whole Grain Benefits: If made with whole grain penne, the dish provides dietary fiber that aids digestion, helps maintain a healthy weight, and supports heart health.
  5. Protein and Satiety: Adding protein sources like chicken or shrimp increases the satiety of the dish, helping to regulate appetite and promote muscle health.
  6. Controlled Portion Sizes: Enjoying Penne all’Arrabbiata in moderate portions helps manage calorie intake while providing a satisfying meal.
  7. Customization: By adjusting ingredients and portion sizes, you can tailor Penne all’Arrabbiata to fit various dietary preferences, including vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free diets.

While Penne all’Arrabbiata can be a flavorful and satisfying dish, moderation and balance are key to maximizing its health benefits as part of a well-rounded diet.

Penne all’Arrabbiata

FAQ Related To Penne Recipe

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Penne all’Arrabbiata:

Q1: Is It very spicy? A1: Penne all’Arrabbiata is known for its spicy kick, thanks to the red chili peppers. However, you can adjust the level of spiciness by controlling the amount of chili flakes or fresh chili peppers you use.

Q2: Can I make It ahead of time? A2: Yes, you can prepare Penne all’Arrabbiata ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or freeze it for longer storage. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

Q3: What can I serve with It? A3: Penne all’Arrabbiata pairs well with crusty bread or garlic bread to soak up the sauce. You can also serve it with a simple green salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a balanced meal.

Q4: Can I make It gluten-free? A4: Yes, you can use gluten-free penne pasta or any other gluten-free pasta of your choice to make Penne all’Arrabbiata suitable for a gluten-free diet.


Penne all’Arrabbiata (spicy tomato pasta)

Rachid Yousfi
Penne all’Arrabbiata is a classic Italian pasta dish renowned for its bold flavors and simplicity. Originating from the Lazio region, particularly around Rome, its name "Arrabbiata" translates to "angry" in reference to its spicy tomato sauce.
The dish features al dente penne pasta tossed in a sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, red chili peppers, and olive oil. It's a versatile dish that can be adapted with additional ingredients like chicken, shrimp, or vegetables, catering to various dietary preferences.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 People
Calories 500 kcal


  • Large Pot for Boiling Pasta: A sturdy pot with enough capacity to boil water and cook the pasta until al dente.
  • Sauté Pan or Skillet: A wide, shallow pan or skillet for preparing the spicy tomato sauce and sautéing garlic and chili peppers.
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula To stir and toss the pasta and sauce without damaging the pan.
  • Sharp Knife and Cutting Board For chopping garlic, chili peppers, and any additional ingredients like chicken or vegetables.
  • Can Opener: If using canned tomatoes, a can opener is essential for easy access.
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups For accurately measuring ingredients like olive oil, chili flakes, and other spices.
  • Colander To drain the cooked pasta after boiling.
  • Tongs or Pasta Server: For transferring cooked pasta from the pot to the sauce.
  • Grater (optional): For grating cheese like Pecorino Romano or Parmesan to sprinkle on top of the finished dish.
  • Plates or Pasta Bowls: For serving the Penne all’Arrabbiata.


  • 12 ounces Penne Pasta: Use regular or whole wheat penne pasta according to preference. Adjust quantity based on desired servings.
  • 1 can Canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes: Choose good-quality canned tomatoes for a rich sauce. You can crush them slightly with your hands before adding to the sauce for texture.
  • 3 cloves Garlic: Adjust garlic quantity based on personal preference for garlic flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon Red Chili Peppers or Chili Flakes: Increase or decrease chili amount based on spice tolerance. Remove seeds and membranes for milder heat.
  • 3 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Use good-quality olive oil for flavor. Adjust amount as needed for sautéing and flavoring the sauce.
  • Teaspoon Salt: Add salt to taste, considering other salty ingredients like cheese that may be added later.
  • 2 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley: Use parsley as a garnish for added freshness and color.
  • 500 Grams Chicken: If adding protein, cook separately and add to the sauce just before serving or serve alongside.


  • Prepare the Pasta:
    Begin by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 12 ounces (340 grams) of penne pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente, typically about 10-12 minutes. Once cooked, drain the pasta in a colander, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Set the pasta aside.
  • Make the Spicy Tomato Sauce:
    In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1-2 finely chopped fresh red chili peppers (adjust quantity based on desired spice level) or 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and the chili peppers are softened.
  • Simmer the Sauce:
    Carefully add 1 can (14-ounce or 400 grams) of whole peeled tomatoes to the skillet, breaking them apart with a spoon or spatula. Season the sauce with 1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste. Stir well to combine all ingredients.
    Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly and flavors meld together.
  • Combine Pasta and Sauce:
    Add the cooked penne pasta to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Toss the pasta well to coat it evenly with the sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, add some of the reserved pasta cooking water a little at a time to loosen it.
  • Finish and Serve:
    Remove the skillet from heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley for added freshness and flavor. If desired, sprinkle 1/2 cup of grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese over the pasta and toss again to combine.
    Serve the Penne all’Arrabbiata hot, garnished with additional parsley and cheese if desired. Enjoy this flavorful Italian dish with crusty bread and a side salad for a complete meal.


  • Al Dente Pasta: Cook the penne pasta just until al dente (firm to the bite). This ensures the pasta retains a pleasant texture when combined with the sauce.
  • Quality Ingredients: Use good-quality extra virgin olive oil and canned tomatoes for the best flavor in the sauce. Fresh garlic and chili peppers (or high-quality chili flakes) also contribute significantly to the dish’s taste.
  • Balancing Spice: Adjust the amount of red chili peppers or chili flakes to your spice preference. Remember, you can always add more heat later, but it’s challenging to reduce spice once added.
  • Sauce Consistency: If the sauce becomes too thick while simmering, add reserved pasta water gradually to achieve a silky, evenly coated pasta.
  • Fresh Herbs: Adding fresh parsley at the end provides a burst of freshness and enhances the overall presentation of the dish.
  • Cheese on Top: If using grated cheese, sprinkle it over the pasta just before serving to allow it to melt slightly and blend with the sauce.
  • Serve Immediately: Penne all’Arrabbiata is best enjoyed right after preparation. Serve it hot to fully appreciate its flavors and textures.
  • Customization: Feel free to personalize the dish by adding protein like chicken or shrimp, or by incorporating additional vegetables according to your preferences.
  • Storage: While Penne all’Arrabbiata can be stored and reheated, it’s ideal to consume it freshly made for the best taste and texture.
Keyword Penne

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