Penne all’Arrabbiata

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Penne all'Arrabbiata

Penne all’Arrabbiata, which means “angry” in Italian, is a traditional dish from the Lazio region of Italy—Rome, more specifically. In this dish, penne is tossed with a spicy sauce and served with fresh parsley. So simple and so delicious!

I like using a combination of fresh and dried peppers in this sauce for added flavor and kick! You can easily adjust how spicy you want your sauce to be. Peppers range quite a bit in spiciness, so your best bet is to taste one! I cut a thin slice of the pepper and taste it before using. If it’s super spicy, I’ll ease up on the red pepper flakes. If it’s more mild, I’ll add more! Tasting and adjusting is the name of the game for this recipe.

Penne all'Arrabbiata

Arrabbiata is typically served with penne, but any short pasta shape will do. The sauce gets caught in the hole of the pasta, making the perfect bite! An important tip for pasta is to finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. Boil the pasta to just shy of al dente and then transfer it to the pan with the sauce. Add a bit of the pasta cooking water and toss it together until the pasta and sauce are well combined. Add your fresh parsley to the pan and you’re ready to serve! I like to serve this pasta with more red pepper flakes, in case anyone wants to kick it up a notch, and some grated Pecorino Romano. Penne all'Arrabbiata

It’s not traditional, but I like to add a tablespoon of unsalted butter to the sauce with the pasta. The butter adds a silkiness to the sauce and also helps the pasta and the sauce come together. That, and the starchy pasta water. Pssst, most restaurants add a “knob” or two of butter when they’re finishing the pasta in the sauce. That’s why restaurant pasta is so slurpable!

This recipe is one of my favorites, not only because of how delicious it is, but because of how easy it is to make! It’s the perfect meal for busy weeknights, but also special enough for a dinner party. I love a good simple pasta!

Penne all'Arrabbiata

Spice up your next dinner with this Penne all’Arrabbiata—I promise you will not be “angry” while eating it!

Recipe Summary

  • Penne all'Arrabbiata
  • Prep Time
    5 Minutes
    Cook Time
    20 Minutes
    Total Time
    25 Minutes
  • Level: Easy
  • Servings: 4-6
  • Ingredients:
    • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 4 Cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 Fresh red chili pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1 (28 Ounce) Can whole peeled tomatoes in puree, crushed by hand
    • 1/2-1 Teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
    • 1/4 Teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
    • 1 Pound penne
    • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
    • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped, to taste
    • Pecorino Romano, grated (optional)
  • Instructions:
    1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the garlic and the fresh chiles and cook, stirring, until the garlic has started to turn golden at the edges; 1-2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper flakes, lower the heat and simmer until the flavors have melded and the sauce has thickened; 15-20 minutes. Taste the sauce and add more salt if needed.
    2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to 1 minute less than package directions for al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain. 
    3. Add the pasta to the sauce along with the butter, if using, and a splash of the reserved pasta water. Let the pasta finish cooking in the sauce, adding more pasta water as needed to loosen; 1-2 minutes. Stir in the parsley. 
    4. Serve with grated Pecorino Romano and more pepper flakes. Enjoy!

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