(Hot!) Penne All’Arrabbiata

Penne all’arrabbiata is probably my favorite pasta dish. And although it may seem simple enough to make, it is – like with so many basic Italian pasta dishes – a bit tricky to get it truly right.

Of course, it’s in the end all a question of personal taste. I prefer it if the dish is not too saucy, but truly hot! And even if this may not seem too complex, I have probably more often than not found myself sitting in front of a dish of penne with tomato sauce rather than penne all’arrabbiata which I had embarked upon making.

To avoid future disappointment, I started writing down proportions until I was finally happy, and so now, here it is: My personal ultimate feel-good „angry“ pasta dish! 😋


Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 2 small vine tomatoes
  • 100 grams of penne rigate
  • sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (for frying)
  • 1 garlic clove, whole and slightly pressed down with a knife
  • 2 fresh red peperoncini (alternatively, 1 red bird’s eye chili), seeds and membrane removed, and finely sliced
  • For serving: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, grated pecorino romano, chopped parsley
  • For decoration (optional): small sprig of basil


  1. Peel the tomatoes as follows: cut out the stem, make a cross-shaped incision at the bottom and lower into boiling water. Remove after 30 to 50 seconds (depends on how fresh the tomatoes are, fresh tomatoes require less time in the boiling water) and rinse under cold water. Remove skin. Cut in half and remove seeds with a small spoon. Discard seeds and skin and dice the tomato flesh. Set aside.
  2. Start preparing the pasta: Bring a pot of water to the boil, add approximately 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sea salt and boil according to instruction until al dente minus 2 minutes (as the pasta will be cooked in the sauce for 2 more minutes).
  3. Once you started boiling the pasta, pour the olive oil into a non-stick pan, place the garlic inside and heat up over medium heat.
  4. Let the garlic sizzle in the oil for one to two minutes, then remove it (discard).
  5. Add the tomatoes to the pan (ensure that it is not too hot and time so that the pasta will be ready within the next one to two minutes, to avoid drying out of the tomatoes). Let fry for one minute, then add the peperoncini.
  6. Fry for another minute, then transfer the pasta into the pan and add some of the water used to boil the pasta to just stop the frying process (you can basically hear it – the pan must stop sizzling). Should the dish still seem too dry, add a bit more water while tossing the penne in the sauce for another 2 minutes.
  7. Serve on pre-warmed pasta dishes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with pecorino and parsley to taste. Decorate with a sprig of basil.

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