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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.
  • 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

4.92 from 37 votes
Penne Arrabbiata Recipe
Spicy Penne Arrabbiata Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
 
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!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: pasta, recipe, spicy
Servings: 4
Calories: 611 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
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
  1. Heat a large pan to medium heat and add the olive oil.
  2. Add the onion and peppers. Cook them down for 5 minutes or until soft.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Stir in the noodles, then garnish with fresh chopped basil and extra crushed red pepper. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve.
Recipe 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 Facts
Spicy Penne Arrabbiata Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 611 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Cholesterol 22mg7%
Sodium 671mg28%
Potassium 720mg21%
Carbohydrates 95g32%
Fiber 6g24%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 584IU12%
Vitamin C 43mg52%
Calcium 72mg7%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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! #ItalianFood #Pasta #Spicy

101 comments

  1. 5 stars
    great recipe. I only added 3 tablespoon of heavy cream (whipping cream) to it
    delicious!!!

  2. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

    5 stars
    A winner has been chosen! Thanks, everyone, for participating in the contest! The contest is now closed. I greatly appreciate all of your support! — Mike H.

  3. My favorite spicy dish is my next one! 😀

    If I’m seriously picking one, though, it’s probably your Chili Con Carne right now. Gonna have to make that soon, I think!

    Thanks for all you do to bring us spicy deliciousness!

  4. Tayne Peirce

    5 stars
    This sounds good as do most all of the recipes on this site. We LOVE spicy foods in our family. One of our favorite go-to recipes is the Coconut Chicken Curry and I made the salsa ranchera the other day and it went over so well. Thanks for posting and sharing all of these!

  5. Debbie Russ

    5 stars
    That recipe looks good. Personally I wouldn’t use a ghost pepper. My husband and I grow habaneros.
    We like recipes for spicy pasta dishes.
    Thanks for sharing another recipe from your cookbook. I can’t wait to see all the other recipes.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Sure thing, Debbie! Easily adjust to your preferred heat level! Habaneros would be GREAT here.

  6. Carol Ann Webb

    5 stars
    This recipe sounds fantastic, as do all of your recipes. I wish I had time to make them all! One of my favorites in your Chile Verde. It’s to live for!!

  7. Scott Durham

    5 stars
    Looks awesome, as do all your dishes. I’m not at the same heat level but do love some spice. My current favorite is the Cowboy Candy / Candied Jalapenos. Followed your recipe and did a batch without the turmeric and with. Definitely prefer the turmeric version. Thanks for all you do.

  8. Jayne Knight

    The Spicy Penne Arrabbiata looks fresh and colourful, yet with hidden a depth from the peppers and spices.

    I haven’t made this …. yet. So can’t rate it.
    However, on presentation I’d give it * * * * * stars.

  9. Kevin Carlson

    5 stars
    Made this one yesterday and it was great. No leftovers.
    My favorite spicy dish is Thai pork Krapao with basil and about 10 birds eye chilis.
    Thanks

  10. Great Recipe as usual. I love the spice and flavor. My kids love it also and we usually make this one or another one close to it once a week. Thank you.

  11. I love spicy food. Angry or VooDoo Shrimp at Heaven on Seven in Chicago. Mmm mmm good. I’m so glad to have found your site years ago because now I can attempt to make my favorite spicy foods at home. Your Spicy Cajun Shrimp is right up my alley. Can’t wait to give it a try.

  12. Scott T Lillehaug

    5 stars
    Amazing recipes!

    My faves are the hot honey infusion and the baked cream cheese jalapeno peppers. While the wife wont eat it (she’s not into hot food 🙁 ), my kids love it!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Scott. It took me years to convert my wife into a chilihead. Haha. Worth it! Thanks.

  13. Mike Maciejewski

    This recipe looks great and I’ll have to give it a try. Please enter me in your cookbook giveaway for the one-year anniversary. Any recipe involving spicy wings (since I’m from Buffalo) is high on my list. Thanks for this and all your recipes.

    Mike

  14. 5 stars
    I lived in Italy before moving to Spain. And this was my favorite pasta sauce. My garden is growing full on chilies. I’m gonna do mine, mixing Serrano and Bishop’s crown.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Nice. Serranos and Bishop’s Crowns are GREAT peppers!

  15. Graham Critchley

    Your crispy chicken wings are the best. this recipe is really good as well.

  16. 5 stars
    Oh Em geeeeeee,This looks amazing I love Arrabbiata, but find when you eat out at restaurants its just a basic Napoletana sauce that they have added some chilli’s to last minute, blurgh. And it must must must be served with Penne pasta, to soak up and hold those scrummy sauces.
    I have never tried it with soppressata, so was really happy with the richness it gave the sauce. Definitely a favorite so far. So many recipes so little time…. 😬

    Thank you so much for sharing,
    Hugs from across the sea in South Africa

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks so much, Halima! This is the way to spice it up. I appreciate it!

  17. 4 stars
    I had to tame down the spice a little but made a great dish. Penne pasta is my favorite pasta

  18. 5 stars
    aaa nice 🙂 been doing similar variations (fusilli and lover heat level) for my family all summer 🙂 great cooking, and a lot of inspiration on these pages … keep on going 🙂

  19. sharon sivori

    5 stars
    I did not not make it as spicy as your recipe but everyone gobbled it up! I really love your jams and jellies. I have been making them for over 13 years now. I have some specials that come close to yours with heat..pineapple habanero is one that everyone loves, the heat and the sweet gets them everytime. I really enjoy your site, keep up the great work!

  20. Iean Dobson

    5 stars
    For better or worse, I don’t live near a big city… definitely for better! However, it does force me to ‘MacGyver’ a lot of your recipes, again for the better. I have recently met a new friend who loves to grow chilies and tomatoes. Yes,!!
    I also have an East Indian friend who has been teaching me her cuisine for a few years now. I am taking great delight in blending traditions, which makes my belly very happy.
    Keep up the great work, and Thank you.

  21. 5 stars
    Hey Mike, I’m loving your recipes. Haven’t done this one yet, but sure going to give it a try before the end of the week. I originally stumbled on your site looking for hot sauce recipes, but now the highlight of my day is reading what new recipe you have for me to try out. It’s hard picking a favourite coz most of your recipes are fantastic. Right now my favourite would be your Mango-Harbanero Chicken, I make 2 batches each time, one with Jalapenos for the Missus and girls & one with Scorpions for me and the boy.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      That’s GREAT, Geoff! Glad you are enjoying the recipes! Mango-Habanero chicken is a good one. I appreciate it.

  22. Hi Mike, I love making pepper jams and your Habanero Pepper Jam is especially tasty. My favorite dish to make with peppers is a recipe for Goulash Soup which I recieved from a German lady. I float a couple split habanero peppers on top, cook all day and serve with plenty of crusty bread.

  23. The cajun shrimp is my all time favorite that I’ve seen so far! Definitely need to purchase your book asap!

  24. 5 stars
    Great recipe I had to adjust a little for my wife to eat it but she even liked it. I put some home made smoked spicy sausage in it and it really kicked it up a notch Keep them coming. After think about it if I didn’t adjust for my wife I would have more for myself, LOL

  25. Bruno Foisy

    5 stars
    Oh my gosh! So tastefull! I love pasta! Specially when it’s mouth burning!
    Here in Québec City, Canada,we are a small bunch of spicy food lovers! But one pepper after one, we will conquer, thanks to you Michael!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Bruno! Conquer, yes! Spicy food lovers unite!

  26. Janet Wambold

    Spicy Arabiatta sound super delicious. I bookmarked this recipe for later this week. I love spicy pasta.

  27. Rochelle Ricks

    I’d love to give your cookbook as a Christmas gift to my husband who loves all things spicy. That’s why he married me, lol!

  28. 5 stars
    This looks like a delicious recipe Mike, which isn’t surprising in that it is coming from you. I’ve got to try it out, thanks for sharing. I’d love a chance to win one of the 3 cookbooks as well.

    ~ Kort

  29. Wow! Wonderful recipe – I used La Bomba & Apache peppers (grew them this year). We had this for an early lunch (having our Thanksgiving turkey later on today). Will make this again soon!

    Your new cookbook looks wonderful and I’d love a chance to win one, so I can enjoy your recipes over and over. Thanks for the offer.

    Wish you lots of sales 🙂

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Sandra! I appreciate it. I’d love to try this with those peppers as well.

  30. Holly Zimmer

    OMG this makes my mouth water. One of my fave spicy recipes is spaghetti. I can eat the whole pot 🙂

  31. Gillian Law

    5 stars
    Oh my, this looks amazing. It’s a recipe that can be a bit dull in many restaurants, but this version sounds incredible. I’ll definitely try it!

  32. 5 stars
    I love all things spicy and this looks like a great one to try! My favorite spicy dish is (the last one I ate usually lol) cajun pasta.

  33. Jeff Bodnar

    5 stars
    Easy to follow recipe. Very flavorful
    Favorite spicy dish is Chicken an shrimp vindaloo

  34. This looks amazing. Have so many of your recipes bookmarked for future dinners. One my favorite spicy dishes in the fall is smoked brisket chili.

  35. I can’t wait to try this recipe! I LOVE my pasta spicy! I will definitely have to get my hands on the Spicy Food Lovers Cookbook!

  36. Panagiotis Charitakis

    5 stars
    Looks very delicious!!! I have to try it soon.
    Anything that has lot of heat in it, instantly becomes my favorite dish, but I spicy chicken wings is my favorite by far!!!

    Keep it going!!!
    Regards
    Panagiotis

  37. 5 stars
    Thank you for posting this, Mike! I know it will be terrific and I’ll try it with Scoth Bonnets and orange jalapeños (my “go to” peppers!). And I had missed the Shrimp in chipotle-tequila sauce so can’t wait to try that one too!! With a spicy margarita of course (Made with hot simple syrup!)

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      I love it, Sharon! Let me know how it turns out for you! Scotch Bonnets rock!! And jalapenos… always.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Kelly, it is a spicy Italian salami, basically. Very tasty!!

  38. Samridhi Agrawal

    I absolutely love this recipe. What makes it super amazing is the depth that you go to explain the proper science behind cooking it. Also the fact that you use the choicest of ingredients to make your dishes. I’ve tried many of your recipes and cannot say what is better … they are all absolutely delicious. I love spicy food and experiment with them a lot. My recent experimentation is freshly grown ghost pepper….. oh yeah they are hot. I’m thinking of doing a hot sauce with mango and coriander…. any other ideas that you can share? Thanks Sam

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Samridhi. I appreciate it. I think your hot sauce idea sounds great! Let me know how it turns out for you.

  39. 5 stars
    This recipe is something my family will love! My kids are adults now, but they loved spicy foods from quite a young age. We’re trying to teach our grandkids to love spice too. I only found your blog about a year ago, I’m so glad I did!

  40. Bob Jacobsen

    5 stars
    This recipe looks amazing. No ghost peppers tho. The older I get the less heat I can handle, which saddens me. Nonetheless I will be trying this. As far as my favorite spicy dish, almost anything that bites back is good. But give me a bowl of green chili and some warm tortillas and I am a very happy man!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      I hear you, Bob. Luckily you can spice it up to your preferred level! And I’ll have some of the green chili, too.

  41. Chris Duncan

    5 stars
    That looks amazing! Plus its quick and easy which is an added bonus! Only thing I would add is some spicy grilled chicken served with it!
    An amped up chicken jalfrezi is my favorite spicy dish! Maybe a future recipe?!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Yes! Spicy grilled chicken would be perfect here!

  42. I love pasta and this sounds great! I would have to tame it down a little using jalapenos – ghost peppers are a little beyond my spice level LOL
    We loved all the chicken wing recipes – perfect football food!!

  43. This looks absolutely amazing! I love spicy pasta, but since my partner can’t handle any spice at all, I usually just put some hot sauce in mine. My all-time favorite dish is jerk pork steak or jerk chicken wings on the grill. I dehydrated some of my home-grown jalapeños and habaneros, ground them into a powder, and I put some in all my spice rubs. Love your website!

  44. Paul Watson

    5 stars
    Love your recipes, share them with son in law, we are in contest to see who can eat the hottest.
    Growing reaper, monkey face, thai dragon, basket of fire and dragons breath, hopefully can over winter in green house!!

  45. jamie parisi

    Cant wait to make this recipe this week. Ive put your Cookbook on my Christmas wish List. Im sure the recipe is a winner as i have made a number of your and they are always awesome.

    1. jamie parisi

      My favorite spicy dish is bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos. forgot to add this

  46. 5 stars
    Spicy Penne Arrabbiata Recipe Love it but I do add another can of diced tomato with chills and some heavy cream just to make it a nice rich creamy sauce then to my dish I add some HOT sauce or maybe some diced reaper and Blue or Gorgonzola P,S.I can only make it with jalapeno due to the wife.

    Excellent !

  47. Rickey Cate

    5 stars
    Your Spicy Penne was once again a hit with my family and close neighbors at dinner last week. They are always amazed when I make one of your dishes from recipes. I have to be honest I don’t have just one favorite from all your recipes they are all favorites! Please keep sharing your wonderful recipes as I always share them with my friends and family.
    Thank you

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks so much, Rickey!! This the hugest compliment! I sincerely appreciate it!

  48. 5 stars
    Not only does this recipe sound amazing, it looks delicious. Very vibrant colors and lots of spice to boot. Cant wait to try it!

  49. 5 stars
    Sitting at work and stumbled across this recipe, I’m now creating a shopping list and leaving work just to go home and try this one out, is 8am too early for delicious spicy pasta? No, and lose all friends that disagree. Thank you for yet another amazing recipe for us pepper heads! Keep up the great work!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Troy! Definitely not too early for pasta! Haha, enjoy.

  50. 5 stars
    High Mike
    Loved the the spicey penne arrabbiata.
    Could you do more Indian vegetarian dishes.
    Cheers

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Soner. I’ll definitely add some to my list! I appreciate it!

  51. 4 stars
    So glad I found your site. With an over abundance of hot peppers this year I needed to find a way to use them up so I used a lot of your sauce recipes.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Glad you found me, Lora-Lynn. I hope you find the information useful.

  52. 5 stars
    cheers Mike. inspired me to do one this morning. de arbol used and sunstream tomatoes (along with tinned) with spirale pasta. i use a teaspoon of brown sugar too.
    keep on cookin’ 🙂

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