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13 October 2019

This penne arrabbiata recipe brings the classic Italian dish to a whole new level with lots of chili flakes and extra spicy peppers. If you like your pasta spicy, this is for you!

Patty and I love Italian food. We have our favorite local place and we relished the amazing cuisine during our long trip to Italy. Talk about flavor. Italian food is known for its amazing flavor and ingredients, but it isn’t really known for being “spicy”. Don’t get me wrong, though. The Italians know how to spice things up when they want to.

Case in point – Penne Arrabbiata. This is a famous spicy Italian dish that incorporates chili flakes into the spicy tomato sauce, making it wonderfully zesty. The word “Arrabbiata” in Italian translates to “angry,” so you know your taste buds are in for a ride when you sit down for dinner with this dish.

The sauce is traditionally made with tomatoes, garlic and chili flakes cooked in olive oil. The “angry” bits come from the heat of the chili flakes. My version, though, includes fresh peppers as well as extra spicy chili flakes, bringing it to a whole new level of spiciness. I just can’t help myself! I love it spicy!

Remember, my friends, you can easily tame the heat with milder peppers to fit your own preferred level of heat.

This recipe is in my cookbook, “The Spicy Food Lover’s Cookbook” (by Michael Hultquist), in the “Piquant Pasta!” chapter. It is originally entitled “All-the-Way Arrabbiata” and incorporates fiery ghost peppers and ghost pepper flakes. I’ve adapted it slightly here to let you make it with peppers that aren’t quite so hot. Your choice!

I hope you will check out my cookbook!

Let’s talk about how we make my Spicy Penne Arrabbiata, shall we? I love a good spicy pasta dish. The arrabbiata sauce is wonderfully spicy.

Penne Arrabbiata in a bowl

Ingredients Needed

  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 spicy pepper of your choice, chopped (I used a ghost pepper, but use your preferred level, such as a jalapeno, serrano, or habanero pepper)
  • 2 red Fresno peppers, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp spicy red pepper flakes, plus more for serving (for an even spicier version, use fiery ghost pepper flakes)
  • 1 (14-oz [396-g]) can diced tomatoes (for a saucier version, use 2-3 cans, or add tomato sauce)
  • ¾ cup (130 g) cherry tomatoes
  • 4 oz (113 g) hot soppressata, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb (454 g) pasta noodles—I used penne
  • Fresh chopped basil, for serving

Spicy Penne Arrabbiata Recipe Steps

First, heat a large pan to medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and peppers. Cook them down for 5 minutes or until soft.

Add the garlic and pepper flakes; stir to coat. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Stir in the tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and hot soppressata. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Penne Arrabbiata sauce in a pan, ready to simmer

While the sauce is cooking, prepare your noodles according to the packaging instructions to al dente. Drain the pasta, but reserve about a cup (240 ml) of the pasta water. Stir a half cup (120 ml) of the pasta water into the sauce to loosen it up. Stir in more pasta water, if needed.

Stir in the noodles, then garnish with fresh chopped basil and extra crushed red pepper.

Penne Arrabbiata in a pan

Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve.

BOOM! Fire it up, my friends! What peppers have you decided to use? Let me know because I”m curious! I hope you enjoy it.

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • The Sauce. This isn’t an overly saucy recipe. If you’d like a saucier version, stir in another can of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce. Try it with my Fra Diavolo Sauce recipe.
  • Tweak the Heat. This recipe brings some serious heat if you’re going to use ghost peppers like I did. If you haven’t cooked with ghost peppers, prepare yourself. For a milder version, you can easily swap out ghost peppers for other peppers. Habaneros will bring a very nice level of heat. You can usually find ghost pepper flakes online, though I like to grown my own and dehydrate them at home.
  • The Toppings. I’ve used extra chili flake, fresh sliced cherry tomatoes and chopped basil here, but it’s also great with grated parmesan cheese. I also like a bit of hot sauce. Yum!

Try Some of My Other Spicy Pasta Recipes

Penne Arrabbiata in a bowl with extra spicy chili flakes

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Mike’s Cookbook – The Spicy Food Lovers’ Cookbook

Don’t forget to check out my cookbook, “The Spicy Food Lover’s Cookbook”. It’s packed with 75 recipes for spicy food lovers of all levels, with easy recipes for seafood, from the land, handhelds, slow cooker meals, pressure cooker, pasta and so much more. If you love it spicy, you need this book. Let me know what you think of it! Keep it spicy, my friends! — Mike H.

Penne Arrabbiata in a bowl, ready to serve

Penne Arrabbiata Recipe
Print Recipe
4.92 from 37 votes

Spicy Penne Arrabbiata Recipe

This penne arrabbiata recipe brings the classic Italian dish to a whole new level with lots of chili flakes and extra spicy peppers. If you like your pasta spicy, this is for you!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: pasta, recipe, spicy
Servings: 4
Calories: 611kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil plus more for serving
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 spicy pepper of your choice chopped (I used a ghost pepper, but use your preferred level, such as a jalapeno, serrano, or habanero pepper)
  • 2 red Fresno peppers chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp spicy red pepper flakes plus more for serving (for an even spicier version, use fiery ghost pepper flakes)
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (for a saucier version, use 2-3 cans, or add tomato sauce)
  • ¾ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 4 oz hot soppressata chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb pasta noodles I used penne
  • Fresh chopped basil for serving

Instructions

  • Heat a large pan to medium heat and add the olive oil.
  • Add the onion and peppers. Cook them down for 5 minutes or until soft.
  • Add the garlic and pepper flakes; stir to coat. Cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the diced tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and hot soppressata. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • While the sauce is cooking, prepare your noodles according to the packaging instructions. Drain, but reserve about a cup (240 mof the pasta water. Stir a half cup (120 mof the pasta water into the sauce to loosen it up. Stir in more pasta water, if needed.
  • Stir in the noodles, then garnish with fresh chopped basil and extra crushed red pepper. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve.

Notes

HOT TIP: This isn’t an overly saucy recipe. If you’d like a saucier version, stir in another can of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce.
TWEAK THE HEAT: This recipe brings some serious heat. If you haven’t cooked with ghost peppers, prepare yourself. For a milder version, you can easily swap out ghost peppers for other peppers. Habaneros will bring a very nice level of heat. You can usually find ghost pepper flakes online, though I like to grown my own and dehydrate them at home.

Nutrition

Calories: 611kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 671mg | Potassium: 720mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 584IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 3mg
Spicy Penne Arrabbiata
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