Penne all'Arrabbiata

Penne Arrabiata
Marian Vejcik/Getty Images
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
496 Calories
16g Fat
71g Carbs
19g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 496
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 391mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 71g 26%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Protein 19g
Calcium 307mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Arrabbiata means "angry," and this classic pasta dish, originating in the Lazio region around Rome, gets its name from the spicy tomato sauce, made with garlic and red chile peppers. Some variations add basil, onions, or oregano, but the most basic is just olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, and chile pepper. You can adjust the spice level or amount of garlic (though don't overdo it), to taste, and you can use any short, tubular pasta, such as ziti, or long, thin strand pasta, such as spaghetti. 

In some parts of Italy, this same sauce is called "alla carrettiera," meaning "cart-driver's sauce."

This super-simple and quick pasta can be whipped up in little more time than it takes to boil the pasta, so it makes a great late-night snack or weeknight meal when you are tired and short on time and inspiration. 


  • 1 pound penne pasta (or spaghetti, if you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and finely minced)
  • Crushed red pepper (to taste, or, 1 to 2 fresh hot chile peppers, stemmed, seeded, and finely sliced)
  • 2/3 pound plum tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and chopped, or use a drained 1-pound can of tomatoes)
  • 5 to 6 fresh basil leaves (chopped)
  • Fine sea salt (to taste)
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or, if you find it too sharp, 2/3 cup each of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano, mixed)
  • Optional: 1 medium onion (peeled and finely chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Set a large pot of water to boil over high heat for the pasta.

  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion (if you are using it) and the garlic in half (2 tablespoons) of the oil, until fragrant and just barely golden - about 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Add the crushed red peppers or the fresh chile pepper and cook for another 30 seconds, until fragrant.

  5. Add the tomatoes and lower the heat to low. Simmer, covered, while you cook the pasta.

  6. In the meantime, cook the pasta in the salted boiling water to al dente.

  7. Drain it and return it to the pot.

  8. Check the seasoning of the sauce and stir in the basil and the remainder of the oil.

  9. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to cover evenly.

  10. Serve the pasta with the grated cheese on the side.

  11. Enjoy!

Pairing Suggestions

  • Pair with a white wine from the Colli Albani, such as Fontana di Papa. A good secondo (main dish) to serve after this pasta primo would be Saltimbocca alla Romana.