Best Penne All'Arrabbiata Experience the magic of Italian flavors with this classic Penne All’Arrabbiata recipe. Infused with the fiery heat of chili peppers and the rich aroma of basil, this spicy tomato sauce pasta is sure to become a favorite.
So, let’s dive into a plate of Penne All’Arrabbiata that boasts tradition and a twist.
How to Make the Best Best Penne All'Arrabbiata

How to Make The Best Penne All'Arrabbiata

chef jean pierre 200x200 1Chef Jean-Pierre
Hello friends, today I am going to share a recipe my Mom (a Cordon Bleu Chef) taught me for the best Penne all'Arrabbiata I ever tasted. All'Arrabbiata is very similar to a fresh Pomodoro sauce, but spicey.
Make it as spicy as you want, my Mom would always tell me that I will get used to the spice. I never did, but I loved it anyway! I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I love making it in honor of my Mom.
Be sure to let me know how you did in the comments below!
4.64 from 19 votes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 - 4 Servings

Recipe Video

Recipe Ingredients

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 4 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup Garlic Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Red Chili or Chili Flakes, adjust to taste
  • 28 oz can Italian Peeled Tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 10-12 Fresh Basil Leaves, torn
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated (or Parmesan)
  • Additional Fresh Basil Leaves, for garnish

For the Pasta:

  • 12 ounces Penne Pasta

For the Salsa (optional):

  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Olive Oil
  • 1 Shallot minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Red Chili or Chili Flakes, adjust to taste
  • 3 to 4 cloves Garlic sliced very thin
  • 4 to 6 Basil Leaves torn
  • 1 tablespoon Parsley Leaves chopped
  • 1 ½ cups Cherry Tomatoes cut in half

Recipe Instructions

Prepare the Tomato Sauce:

  • Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 20-30 seconds.  
  • Add the red chili to the pan, adjusting the quantity based on your desired level of spiciness.  
  • Add the chopped Italian peeled tomatoes to the pan.  Allow the tomato mixture to cook for 15/20 minutes until the tomatoes break down and the flavors meld together.  
  • Stir in the chopped Italian parsley and torn basil leaves.   

Prepare the “Salsa” to add on top of the pasta (optional):

  • In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil, when hot add the shallots and cook for a couple minutes.    
  • Add the chili pepper, basil, parsley and cherry tomatoes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for 10 minutes at medium to low heat!   

Prepare the Pasta:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  • Add the penne pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente.
  • Drain the cooked pasta, reserving a small amount of pasta water.
  • Toss the drained pasta with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking and set aside.

Assemble the Dish:

  • Return the tomato sauce to low heat and add the cooked penne pasta to the sauce.
  • Toss the pasta in the sauce, ensuring even coating.  Add the unsalted butter to the pasta and sauce mixture, stirring until the butter melts and incorporates. 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the chili flakes if more spiciness is desired.  Sprinkle grated pecorino Romano cheese over the pasta and stir to combine.  
  • If you prepared the “salsa” add a couple tablespoons on top of each serving.  

Serving the Dish:

  • Divide the Penne All'Arrabbiata among serving plates.
  • Garnish with additional torn basil leaves and a drizzle of garlic or pesto olive oil.
  • Serve immediately, optionally with extra cheese on the side for sprinkling.
  • Enjoy your delicious and slightly indulgent Penne All'Arrabbiata with its flavorful tomato and spicy kick, topped with a touch of buttery richness and fresh basil!

Frequently Asked Questions About Preparing the Best Penne All’Arrabbiata

1. What is Penne All’Arrabbiata?

Penne All’Arrabbiata is a classic Italian pasta dish made with penne pasta and a spicy tomato sauce. The word “arrabbiata” translates to “angry” in English, which hints at the heat of the chili peppers in the sauce.


2. Can Penne All’Arrabbiata be prepared in advance?

Yes, Penne All’Arrabbiata can be prepared in advance. You can cook the sauce ahead of time and store it separately from the cooked penne. Before serving, simply reheat the sauce, combine with the pasta, and enjoy.


3. Can you freeze Penne All’Arrabbiata?

Absolutely. Once cooled, place the Penne All’Arrabbiata in a freezer-safe container or bag, removing as much air as possible. It can be stored frozen for up to 2-3 months.


4. How long can Penne All’Arrabbiata be kept frozen?

Penne All’Arrabbiata can be kept frozen for up to 2-3 months. Beyond this, the quality might decline, although it’s still safe to eat.


5. What’s the best way to store Penne All’Arrabbiata?

If not freezing, store Penne All’Arrabbiata in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s best consumed within 3-4 days.


6. How do you best reheat Penne All’Arrabbiata?

For optimal taste and texture, reheat Penne All’Arrabbiata on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. You can add a splash of water or tomato sauce if it seems dry. Microwaving is also an option, but the pasta texture may become softer.


7. What sides pair well with Penne All’Arrabbiata?

Common sides include Garlic Bread, a fresh Spinach Salad, or roasted vegetables. For something a bit different, consider a light Caesar Salad or sautéed spinach with garlic.


8. What wines are best paired with Penne All’Arrabbiata?

Given the spicy nature of the dish, a medium-bodied red wine such as a Chianti or Primitivo can be excellent choices. For white wine lovers, a chilled Pinot Grigio or Vermentino can balance out the dish’s spiciness.


9. How can I adjust the spiciness of my Penne All’Arrabbiata?

The spiciness can be adjusted by changing the amount of chili pepper or red pepper flakes in the sauce. Use less for a milder sauce or add more if you prefer a spicier kick.


10. Can other types of pasta be used instead of penne?

While penne is traditional, you can certainly use other pasta types like spaghetti, rigatoni, or fusilli. The key is to have a shape that holds onto the sauce well.


11. What gives Penne All’Arrabbiata its unique flavor?

Apart from chili peppers, garlic and high-quality tomatoes are vital ingredients. Some also add a pinch of sugar or a splash of red wine for added depth of flavor.


12. Can I add proteins to my Penne All’Arrabbiata?

Certainly! Grilled chicken, shrimp, or pancetta can be delightful additions to this dish.


13. Is it necessary to use fresh tomatoes for the sauce?

While fresh tomatoes can give a wonderful depth of flavor, especially if they’re ripe and in season, canned tomatoes (especially San Marzano tomatoes) are a widely accepted and delicious alternative.


14. Why is my sauce too watery?

If your sauce is too watery, it may need to be simmered longer to reduce and thicken. Ensure you’re using good-quality tomatoes and consider draining them if using canned, to remove excess liquid.


15. What’s the secret to the best Penne All’Arrabbiata?

Like most Italian dishes, the secret lies in using high-quality, fresh ingredients and allowing each ingredient to shine. Don’t rush the sauce; let it simmer and develop flavors. Adjust seasonings to your liking and always taste as you go!

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