This penne arrabbiata is all about the heat! Pasta is tossed in a light tomato basil sauce that packs a serious kick to make this fiery Italian-inspired meal.
I love spicy food, so I tend to post spicy recipes from time to time. And sometimes people ask me how to modify my recipes so they're not so spicy. I'm generally happy to help out in that department, except on those occasions where spicy is the whole point of the recipe.
This is one of those dishes. "Arrabbiata sauce" actually translates to "angry sauce." It's all about the heat.
If that's not your thing you could obviously just leave the red pepper flakes out, but then it wouldn't be an arrabbiata sauce. I guess it would be pomodoro. Oh, and I've got plenty of other pasta recipes on this site, many of which aren't so spicy.
How to Make Penne Arrabbiata
What I love about pasta arrabbiata, aside from the heat, is its simplicity. Sauté some garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and of course, red pepper flakes. Then just simmer for 10 minutes. This one is super fast! Fresh basil goes in at the end.
And of course, feel free to season it up with more red pepper flakes if you're really into heat.
Tips for Making Amazing Penne Arrabbiata
- Wondering about those meatballs in the photos? They're my Italian-style lentil meatballs, and they're perfect with this dish!
- If you've got some fresh hot peppers on hand, feel free to substitute them for the red pepper flakes. Add them to the pot at the same time as the garlic.
- Wondering why this recipe calls for a teaspoon of sugar? It helps balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. You can leave it out if you're absolutely opposed to it, or try adding a tiny bit of carrot or sweet potato puree.
- Use your favorite variety of gluten-free pasta to keep this recipe gluten-free. I love Trader Joe's red lentil pasta.
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This penne arrabbiata is all about the heat! Pasta is tossed in a light tomato basil sauce that packs some serious kick to make this fiery Italian-inspired meal.
- 8 ounces dried penne pasta (gluten-free if desired)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a dash, divided
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1 teaspoon granulated organic sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add the pasta and cook it according to the package directions.
Drain the pasta into a colander. Return it to the pot and toss with a dash of olive oil.
While the pasta cooks, coat the bottom of a large pot with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place it over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until very fragrant.
Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper flakes and sugar.
Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
Lower the heat and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pot from heat and stir in the basil, salt and pepper. Season with additional red pepper flakes if you like.
Either pour the sauce over the pasta and toss, or divide the pasta onto plates and then top with sauce. Sprinkle with additional fresh basil if you like. Serve.
This is so nice! Nice spicy level!
Alissa Saenz says
Thank you! Glad you like it!
Alex McMahon says
What a great recipe the perfect flavor spice and everything nice. Will definitely use this recipe again.
Loved this! So simple and so spicy. I used a potato masher to mash the diced tomatoes down a bit and added some cannellini beans as some quick protein.