Penne all’Arrabbiata | Spicy Tomato Pasta

Penne all’Arrabbiata is a pasta dish seasoned with an arrabbiata sauce, a specialty of Roman cuisine.

It’s an easy recipe made with just a few, simple and genuine ingredients: penne rigate, fresh tomatoes, hot chili pepper, garlic and fresh parsley.

You can prepare this recipe when you want to eat something simple but appetizing and especially very spicy.

penne all arrabbiata_spicy tomato pasta recipe

What makes this pasta special is in fact the chili pepper. It’s better to use fresh hot peppers, but dried ones will also work great for this recipe.

It’s a first course that has become as synonymous with conviviality as the extraordinary Spaghetti Aglio e Olio.

Extremely simple to prepare but just as tasty, this spicy Italian tomato pasta can be a great choice for last-minute dinners with friends. In no time and with just a few ingredients, you can impress your guests!

penne all arrabbiata_spicy tomato pasta recipe

If you want to make the taste even more flavorful, you can top the dish with a generous grating of Pecorino Romano DOP. 

It is always up to you to decide, according to your taste, how spicy, flavorful and “angry” to make your Penne all’Arrabbiata!

penne all arrabbiata_spicy tomato pasta recipe ingredients

Read also:

How to Make Authentic Penne all’Arrabbiata Recipe

  • Prep Time: 15 Min
  • Cook Time: 10 Min
  • Servings: 4

Penne all’Arrabbiata Ingredients


penne all arrabbiata_spicy tomato pasta recipe step 1

Step 1) – To prepare Penne all’Arrabbiata, start by preparing the tomatoes.

If using fresh tomatoes, soak them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and then remove the skin.

If using canned peeled tomatoes, place them in a dish and drain off excess liquid. Cut the tomatoes or mash them with a fork.

penne all arrabbiata_spicy tomato pasta recipe step 2

Step 2) – Peel and crush the garlic clove a little. Chop the chili pepper. Chop the fresh parsley by hand or with an electric chopper and set aside.

penne all arrabbiata_spicy tomato pasta recipe step 3

Step 3) – In a frying pan, sauté chopped garlic and chilies in oil for 2-3 minutes over low heat, taking care that it does not burn. The bitter taste of burnt garlic will spoil the sauce.

penne all arrabbiata_spicy tomato pasta recipe step 4

Step 4) – Add the tomato and season with salt. Still over low heat, cook the tomato sauce for about 10 minutes. Finally remove the garlic.

penne all arrabbiata_spicy tomato pasta recipe step 5

Step 5) – Meanwhile, cook the penne in salted water according to the time indicated on the package (usually around 12 minutes). Drain them when al dente.

penne all arrabbiata_spicy tomato pasta recipe step 6

Step 6) – Place the pasta in the arrabbiata sauce and stir. Add chopped parsley and serve with a sprinkling of grated Pecorino Romano cheese on top (optional).

penne all arrabbiata_spicy tomato pasta recipe

Penne Arrabbiata: Storage

We recommend eating Penne all’Arrabbiata immediately after preparation.

If they are left over, they can be stored for 1 day in the refrigerator. Reheat in microwave or pan by adding a drizzle of oil and a little water.

Best Ingredients to Make Homemade Arrabbiata Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

The traditional recipe for Penne all’Arrabbiata calls for simple and wholesome ingredients. The fact remains that it’s essential to follow some small steps to make it the best arrabbiata sauce ever. So, let’s have a look at some tricks and tips!

penne all arrabbiata_spicy tomato pasta recipe

What type of Tomatoes for Penne all’Arrabbiata Recipe?

The authentic recipe for arrabbiata sauce calls for peeled tomatoes. Of course, it is best made at home with fresh tomatoes.

The best tomatoes for this spicy tomato pasta recipe are San Marzano, Ramato or ripe Casalino tomatoes.

Simply soak the tomatoes for two minutes in lightly salted boiling water. The time it takes to easily peel off the skin.

In summer, when the tomatoes are ripe and flavorful, fresh tomatoes are the best choice.

For the rest of the year, however, canned San Marzano peeled tomatoes are also fine and should never be missing in your pantry.

san marzano tomatoes

Hot Chili Pepper: Fresh or Dried?

We recommend that you use fresh hot pepper. Fresh chili gives the sauce a special flavor that dried chili does not have.

Doses are approximate. In fact, they depend on the quality of the chili and each person’s taste.

Chili, on the other hand, is the key ingredient in this recipe.

Consider that the dish should be on average spicier than other preparations that involve chili.

Those who like a spicier flavor can also add a green chili, which is usually much stronger. Or add fresh sliced chili to the dish.


The Characteristic Shape of Pasta: Le Penne

Although in theory Arrabbiata sauce can season any type of pasta, tradition wants only short pasta.

Arrabbiata is traditionally paired almost exclusively with Penne Rigate.

The Penne format started as a particular variation of macaroni. Their name comes from the shape that resembles that of fountain pen nibs.

In 1865 a penne-cutting machine was invented in Genoa that could slice the pasta diagonally without crumbling it. From then on this pasta was a great success.

To make the best penne all’arrabbiata recipe, you must cook the penne strictly al dente.

penne rigate

What does Arrabiata Mean in Italian?

The name “Arrabbiata” means “angry.” Tradition has it that this comes from the fact that eating a dish of this pasta turns one red in the face as if in anger.

It is the presence of the abundant chili pepper, a natural dilating vessel, that ignites the characteristic redness of the face when tasting this delicacy.

Penne all’Arrabbiata: an Italian Popular Recipe

Penne all’Arrabbiata is part of Italian popular culture. Everyone has known and enjoyed this homemade recipe for generations. This recipe is also featured in many unforgettable Italian films.

For example, Marco Ferreri’s “La grande Abbuffata“, in which would-be suicides Mastroianni and Tognazzi, tired of their monotonous lives, decide to stuff themselves with Penne all’Arrabbiata.

This recipe is also featured in Fellini’s famous film “Roma” and in Verdone’s funny comedy “Sette Chili in Sette Giorni“.

In Italy it’s popular to cook Penne all’Arrabbiata at dinners with friends because they are very tasty and easy to make. That’s why this recipe has become a symbol of cheerfulness and conviviality.

penne all arrabbiata_spicy tomato pasta recipe

Origins of Pasta all’Arrabbiata

Pasta all’Arrabbiata seems to have originated in the hamlet of Ponte Rosso in the municipality of Castel Sant’Angelo, in the province of Rieti, and then spread to the rest of Lazio and throughout Italy.

In this small town every year in August there are village festivals dedicated to Penne all’Arrabbiata.

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