Italian Cuisine · Main Meals

Penne all’Arrabbiata

Penne in fiery, spicy tomato sauce. A delicious meatless Monday meal! 

If I’m not baking cake or making cookies and cheesecakes I love cooking delicious savoury recipes, especially pasta dishes. I have a few favourite pasta recipes already shared on this blog and I am always adding to that collection.

Penne all’Arrabbiata is a classic Roman pasta dish that’s popular in Italy, around the world and my kitchen for a reason. It’s rich, comforting and the perfect food to enjoy after a busy day when you can’t be fussed to cook anything too fancy or extravagant for dinner.

“Arrabbiata” is the Italian word for angry which describes the sauces’ fiery and hot flavour. If you’re not a fan of chilli don’t worry as this arrabbiata sauce has just the right amount of spiciness without being over the top. I only added one red chilli which I deseeded but you can adjust the spiciness to your own taste by adding more or less.

It’s traditional to serve arrabbiata sauce with penne because the ridges cling onto the sauce. Saying that any pasta shape will work. Sometimes I use spaghetti or fusilli but it really depends on what I have in.

I always cook tomato sauces for at least one and a half hours as I find this allows the flavours to really develop. You can serve the pasta immediately with a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan or you can spread it out into a skillet or a baking dish and then top with melting cheese like dried mozzarella, Parmesan or even cheddar and bake it al forno style.

I personally can’t eat pasta without lots of Parmesan. During my recent trip to Bologna I visited the Parmigiano Reggiano Dairies and I was treated to a Parmesan tasting. It was an amazing experience tasting all the different ages and seeing how Parmesan is produced.

Penne all’Arrabbiata is a great meal to have on standby ready for busy weeknights or for a lazy weekend dinner. You can make this sauce up to a week in advance and it can be stored in your fridge. When you’re ready to serve pop the sauce back into a saucepan and heat it whilst the pasta is cooking.

(Serves 4)


Arrabbiata Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil – I don’t recommend using extra virgin olive oil

1 red or white onion, finely diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 – 1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon tomato purée

400g can chopped tomatoes or tomato passata

200ml water (I used the can to measure this)

1-2 teaspoons sugar

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Fresh basil or parsley, to serve

500g dried penne or any other pasta of your choice – I recommend penne rigate


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan on a medium heat. Sauté the diced onion, garlic and chilli until soft for about 4-5 minutes. Add the oregano and continue to cook for another minute or two. Season generously with salt and black pepper.
  2. Add the tomato purée and cook for another minute. Add the canned tomatoes/passata, water and the sugar and bring the sauce up to the boil. Once boiling, turn down to a low heat and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally. It should be thick and glossy by the end of the cooking time.
  3. Before serving, place a large pot of water onto boil – season the water well with salt. Cook the pasta until al dente (a few minutes less than the packet instructions). Drain the pasta and mix together with the sauce. Add extra seasoning if it needs and serve with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.

Keep up to date with me on:

Like my Facebook page here

Instagram: @whatjessicabakednext

Twitter: @jessbakednext

Pinterest: @jessbakednext

20 thoughts on “Penne all’Arrabbiata

  1. I am a huge fan of all’Arrabbiata sauce! In fact, on one of my trips to Italy, I’m pretty sure I eat some form of all’Arrabbiata every single day. I’ll have to give your version a shot soon…it sounds delicious!

  2. I would love the spicy flavors in this sauce, Jessica! My family can’t do spicy very well, but I would make this just for myself!

  3. That would be so cool to see Parmesan cheese being produced. How fun.
    This pasta sounds so delicious. What a comforting sauce. I don’t eat a lot of meat, so this is perfect for me!

  4. Thank you for the reminder to make my own tomato sauce more often, Jess! It’s great to remember how delicious such simple things can be sometimes. And I’m definitely with you on the parmesan. Pile it on!!

Leave a Reply