Penne pasta arrabbiata recipe

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10 min


15 min

Arrabbiata, in Italian, literally means “angry”, and this sauce got its name because the heat of the
chillies makes it a fiery, or angry, sauce. It goes really well with any plain pasta, but is usually
enjoyed in Italy with penne; as a small, ridged tubular pasta, it holds the sauce really well. We have
used green chillies here but, if you prefer, you can use red instead. As a general rule, the smaller the
chilli, the hotter it is. The seeds contain the heat, so if you don’t want it super hot, don’t add the
seeds. Bueno appetito!


  • 300g dried penne pasta
  • 2-3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped (or to taste)
  • 2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 30-40g of pitted black olives, sliced (or to taste)
  • salt
  • sugar to taste
  • To garnish:
  • fresh basil leaves
  • freshly grated Parmesan


  • Boil the pasta in a pan of salted water according to packet instructions (usually 10-12 mins) and drain.

  • Heat the oil in a heavy base frying pan, add the onion and cook gently until softened but not coloured – this should take about 5-8 mins. Stir every now and then. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for about a minute or so – no longer or it will burn and become bitter. Add the chopped tomatoes and olives, bring slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 mins. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt (if necessary, as the olives are quite salty) and a little sugar.

  • Add the hot pasta to the spicy tomato sauce, spoon into warm pasta bowls and serve garnished
    with fresh basil and a handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Top tip for making Penne pasta arrabbiata

Be careful when you’re working with chillies. They contain a pungent oil which can stay on yourfingers for quite a long time. So don’t rub your eyes without washing your hands thoroughly afteryou’ve been touching any chillies.

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