Quick, Tasty, Traditional Italian Penne Arrabbiata that’s uses few ingredients and only takes 30 minutes to make! It makes a delicious vegan pasta or can be made into a spicy, meaty variation.
What is Arrabbiata and Where Does it Originate?
Arrabbiata is a spicy tomato sauce that originates from Lazio in Italy. The word Arrabbiata translates to ‘angry’ because the sauce is meant to be ‘angry’ spicy! So next time you go to Italy, order an arrabbiata and they ask you how angry you want your pasta, you can surprise them with your local knowledge.
Should I use Fresh or Dry Chillies?
Fresh and dry chillies are both great! Fresh chillies are perfect for adding chunks of heat and flavour whilst dry chillies incorporate into the sauce easier.
I personally use dried Birds Eye Chillies Flakes because I love heat, you also get a lot of uses out of one packet! A small 25g packet normally makes around 100 portions and only costs £2-£3.
If you would like to use Fresh Chillies, it’s super easy to add them! Remove the seeds & thinly slice the chillies. Then swap out the dry chillies and add the fresh chillies. Instead of sautéing them on low heat for 30 seconds, sauté for 1-2 minutes they have softened.
What Types of Chillies Flakes Should I Use?
When choosing chillies for an arrabbiata sauce you want a spicy chilli that will enhance the flavours and pack a punch of heat! Since this sauce is meant to be ‘angry’ spicy you want chilli on the hotter side. Don’t worry, I know everyone doesn’t have a super heat tolerance, so I will also give you my favourite recommendation for a mild chilli.
For people with low heat, tolerances use a more mild and flavourful chilli. This will make your sauce a lot more flavourful than adding a really small quantity of spicy chilli.
There are over 400 varieties of chillies, here’s my favourite for a traditional penne arrabbiata.
Mild – Peperoncini
A lot of the time they are the chillies you find in the supermarket labelled ‘red chilli flakes’. They add great flavour, colour & sweetness to your dish without adding much heat. Try adding between 2-3tsp of these chilli flakes, then adjust to taste. If this is still mild, you can try adding 1/4 tsp of Cayenne Pepper Flakes. Peperconcini ranges anywhere from 100-500 on the Scoville scale.
Medium – Cayenne Pepper
Is a moderately hot chilli. They are used to subtly enhance and add spice to a recipe. They are highly accessible and grown in nearly every continent in the world. Try adding 1-2 tsp’s then adjust to taste. Cayenne Pepper can range anywhere from 30,000-50,000 on the Scoville scale.
Hot – Birds Eye Chillies
Are very hot chillies with a fruity and peppered flavour. Try adding 1/3 -3/4 tsp then adjust to taste. Birds Eye Chilli can range anywhere from 50,000-100,000 on the Scoville scale.
Can I add Meat to this Recipe?
Yes, it’s very common for non-vegetarians to add meat to this pasta dish. The most popular variations are either chicken, pepperoni or salami and they are really easy to add. Each variation can be added during step 2 of the recipe.
Chicken Method (add during step 2)
- Add 200 grams of cooked sliced chicken to the sauce and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
Pepperoni & Salami Method (add during step 2)
2. Add 100 grams of sliced pepperoni or salami to the sauce and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
More Recipes You May Like…
- Italian Sausage Pasta
- Pasta with Chickpeas & Tomatoes
- Ragù alla Bolognese
- Traditional Spaghetti Carbonara
- Large Pot
- 500 g Penne rigate
- 80 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 cloves Garlic finely sliced
- 1-2 tsp Dry Chilli Flakes dependant on how spicy you like it
- 800 g Tinned Plum Tomatoes San Marzano or the best quality available
- 1 handful Flat Parsley or Basil optional
- Sea salt
- Parmesan optional
- Heat Olive Oil in a large deep sauté pan over low heat. Add the Garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Next add Chilli Flakes and sauté for 30 seconds. Add Tomatoes and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat & simmer for 10 minutes.
- Next break the Tomatoes apart with a wooden spoon and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes (if any oil rises to the top slowly mix it into the sauce). Season with Salt and extra Chilli Flakes if needed.
- Meanwhile bring a large pot of generously salted water to the boil and cook the Penne until al dente.
- Drain and add the Penne to the arrabbiata sauce and leave to finish cooking for 1 minute in the sauce whilst slowly mixing.
- Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or basil and grated Parmesan
- Plum tomatoes can be swapped for chopped tomatoes