This penne all'Arrabbiata is a delicious summer pasta dish you can have ready in less than 20 minutes. It has lots of ripe tomatoes, fresh garlic, and just a hint of spice.
Are you looking for a quick dinner to feed your family tonight? Penne all'Arrabbiata is a classic Italian dish that's perfect for busy weeknights. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a delicious pasta dish packed with flavor.
Overall, this dish is relatively easy to make and can be easily adjusted to your liking. Whether you like it extra spicy or mild, this dish is sure to please.
Best of all, this sauce is versatile and can be used with other types of pasta, making it the perfect go-to sauce for any occasion.
What does arrabbiata taste like?
A light marinara or red Italian sauce, known as arrabbiata, is given a more intensely spicy flavor with the addition of hot peppers.
The name "arrabbiata," which was given to the dish because of its sour flavor, roughly translates to "angry mood."
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Dried penne pasta
- Olive oil
- Finely diced onion
- Minced garlic cloves
- Tomato paste
- Calabrian chili paste
- Dried Italian seasoning
- Cherry tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Fresh basil, for garnish
- I'm using penne pasta, but pretty much any pasta shape will work with this sauce– fusilli, bucatini, etc.
- Olive oil helps the onion saute. Feel free to use your favorite neutral cooking oil.
- Onion is not added to a lot of Arrabbiata recipes, but I love the earthy flavor it adds to the sauce. If you don't have an onion on hand, feel free to leave it out.
- Unlike onion, garlic is essential to a great Arrabbiata. I highly recommend buying fresh garlic cloves and mincing it yourself– jarred garlic just isn't the same in this recipe.
- Tomato paste adds a rich tomato flavor to the sauce.
- Calabrian chili paste is my favorite way to add spice to tomato sauces– it has a medium spice and a hint of sweetness. I buy my Calabrian chili paste from Trader Joe's! Red pepper flakes will also work if you don't have any chili paste on hand.
- Dried Italian seasoning adds a bit of earthy herbaceousness to the sauce.
- Fresh tomatoes are typically added to arrabbiata to create the sauce. I love using a mix of fresh cherry tomatoes and tomato sauce because it makes a rich and smooth sauce with pops of juicy tomatoes.
- For the tomato sauce, I recommend 100% tomato sauce– the kind that comes in a can next to the diced tomatoes, not jarred marinara sauce.
How to Make Penne all'Arrabbiatta
Prepare. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions (usually about 9 minutes).
Make sure to reserve 1 cup of starchy pasta water before draining.
Cook. Heat a large skillet (high-sided) over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent.
Next, add the garlic, tomato paste, Calabrian chili paste, and Italian seasoning. Stir to combine.
Next, add the cherry tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir and then cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until the cherry tomatoes begin to burst.
Assemble. Drain pasta and add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir until the pasta is completely coated in sauce. If the sauce becomes too dry, add a splash of reserved pasta water.
Finish. Garnish with fresh basil leaves or other fresh herbs and enjoy immediately.
Tips for Success
Here's how to make sure your penne arrabbiata recipe turns out perfect!
- If you're sensitive to spice, start with less chili paste and add more to taste.
- Don't skimp on the olive oil. It may seem like a lot, but creating a rich and flavorful sauce is necessary.
- If you can't find Calabrian chili paste, you can use crushed red pepper flakes or another type of chili paste.
- Make sure to use good quality tomato paste for the best flavor. I like to use San Marzanos.
- If you want a truly authentic Italian experience, make sure to use good-quality pasta. I like to use De Cecco or Barilla.
- Top with parmesan cheese or pecorino romano and some chili flakes for extra flavor.
Easy Sides for Pairing with Penne all'Arrabbiata
If you want to keep things super simple, pair your penne all'arrabbiata with grilled or roasted vegetables or garden salad. If you're up for putting in a little more effort, here are some easy side dish ideas that will go well with the flavors in this recipe:
- Garlic bread
- Crostini with tomato paste and mozzarella
- Steamed broccoli or other steamed vegetables
- Caeser salad
This pasta dish also tastes lovely with a nice glass of wine!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Leftover pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. When you're ready to eat, reheat the pasta in a pot on the stove over medium heat. You may need to add a splash of water or extra virgin olive oil to get the sauce to loosen up.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
This recipe can be frozen, but the pasta may become slightly mushy when reheated. Just make sure the pasta cooks just enough to be al dente before freezing.
If you want to tone down the spice in this dish, start with less chili paste and add more to taste. You can also use milder chili peppers or omit the chili pepper altogether.
You can add tomato paste if you feel that your homemade sauce is not thick enough. Also, if the sauce does not thicken to your preference after adding one spoonful of tomato paste and stirring it in, simply add additional tomato paste until it does.
A watery sauce is frequently caused by adding too much pasta water to the pasta sauce. Other factors include too much water in the noodles themselves or not boiling the sauce down enough.
More Pasta Recipes
- Pizza Pasta Casserole
- One Pot Philly Cheesesteak Pasta
- Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta
- Crock Pot Baked Ziti
Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
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- 16 ounces dried penne pasta
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup finely diced onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons Calabrian chili paste, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can tomato sauce
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente according to thepackage directions (usually about 9 minutes). Make sure to reserve 1 cup of starchypasta water before draining.
- Heat a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Next add the garlic, tomato paste, Calabrian chili paste, and Italian seasoning. Stir tocombine.
- Nextadd the cherry tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir and then cook for another 5-7minutes, or until the cherry tomatoes begin to burst.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir until the pasta is completely coated in sauce.If the sauce becomes too dry, adda splash of reserved pasta water.
- Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy immediately.
- Storage: Leftover pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.