Pasta Arrabiata is a classic! It's healthy, easy to make, and the fiery tomato sauce will please all the spice lovers out there.
Pasta Arrabiata literally means "angry pasta" in Italian. Arrabiata sauce (sugo all'arrabbiata) is a spicy (angry) tomato sauce that's made with plenty of olive oil, garlic, chopped tomatoes, and red pepper flakes to provide the heat.
We all know I'm not the biggest spice fan on the planet, but I did really enjoy this recipe. It was a bit too hot for me, but I still ate it haha. If you want to try it but are worried about the spice level, I'd recommend halving the amount of red pepper flakes. It'll still have some kick.
Love tomato-based pasta sauces? Try my Easy Marinara Sauce or this Penne alla Vodka Recipe.
How to make Pasta Arrabiata (summary):
Start by heating the oil in a medium-sized pot, then adding the garlic and sautéing it for about a minute (careful it doesn't burn). Add in the red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and sugar (if using). Simmer for 15 minutes and then toss with cooked penne. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
This is a very straightforward recipe. You basically simmer the sauce and that's it. 🙂
What kind of tomatoes to use in Pasta Arrabiata?
I used Mutti brand finely chopped tomatoes (2 x 13.5 fluid ounce cans) to make the simple Arrabiata sauce. Regular diced tomatoes are too big and watery, so I would avoid those. If you can't find finely chopped tomatoes, your best bet is crushed tomatoes in my opinion. I've even seen some recipes use a combo of diced tomatoes and tomato paste, so that's always an option. To reduce the sauce, you may need to cook it longer if you find the tomatoes are watery. The texture of my sauce is like a marinara - not too thick or thin.
What kind of pasta to use in Pasta Arrabiata?
I suggest penne, but any shape will work in a pinch. The little tubes are perfect for clinging onto that yummy sauce.
More tasty pasta recipes to try:
- Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta
- Tomato Goat Cheese Pasta
- Super Easy Creamy Tomato Pasta
- Tomato Spinach Shrimp Pasta
- Easy Pasta Puttanesca
Have you ever made Penne Arrabiata at home? Is it something you'd order in a restaurant? Let me know if you have any questions about this recipe in the comments below.
Easy Pasta Arrabiata
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 (13.5 fluid ounce) cans finely chopped tomatoes with juices (see note)
- 1 teaspoon (packed) brown sugar optional
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 8 ounces uncooked penne
- Add the oil to a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and let it cook for a minute or so (watch it closely and don't let it brown).
- Stir in the red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and sugar (if using, see note). Reduce the heat and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, boil a large, salted pot of water for your pasta. Cook it al dente according to package directions.
- Season the sauce with salt & pepper as needed. I added a fair bit of salt.
- Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce (you can add a little pasta water too if you wish). Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- This recipe only contains a few ingredients, so make sure you're buying good quality tomatoes and olive oil for it. I used Mutti brand finely chopped tomatoes and Carapelli Oro Verde Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Please see the explanation in my post on what kind of tomatoes to use if you can't find the exact brand I used - it can make or break the recipe.
- Wondering why there's sugar in here? It takes the acidic edge off the tomatoes and gives this recipe more of a restaurant-quality taste. You can omit it if you prefer.
- You can add some fresh chopped/torn basil a few minutes prior to serving if you wish.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Matt W says
I got hooked on this from a local Italian restaurant. Now that I’ve found this recipe I have it all the time at a fraction of the cost. Love this recipe. Although I add more chili flakes because I love it very spicy.
That's awesome!! I'm so happy to hear that. 😀
This is the first dish I've cooked by myself and my friends and I enjoyed it. So good, I couldn't believe I made it. What I love about this recipe is it's simplicity. Definitely a recipe I'm carrying along with me.
I'm so happy to hear that, Harish!! Thanks for letting me know!
This recipe is amazing but tried with the long pastaa... Didn't love it with the penne pasta.
I'm glad you enjoyed the sauce and found a pasta shape that worked, Gladys! 🙂
Mark Paterson says
Io piace quando lavoro in Italia. Made it myself in Italy often, just needed a reminder.
Susan Huffer says
From 1980 to 1983 I was fortunate to live on the Western coast of Italy in a small town about 1 1/2 hour drive to Rome in the North and about 1 hour drive to Naples in the South. During this time I had Penne Alla Arribiata at a local Ristorante and fell in love with it! So delicious! Never made it at home though. I am, however, going to try to make this dish especially since it comes from an authentic Roman recipe. Thanks for sharing!
Hope you enjoy it! And you must have some wonderful memories! 🙂
Rachel A says
Susan did you live in Gaeta? I did and would go to Vic’s to get Penne arribiata with the best crusty roll whenever the ship came back into port. I miss Gaeta, the people, the city, and the food!
Paul heaton says
I used a jar of passata in place of the tinned tomatoes and a finely chopped de seeded red chilli with shreds of basil. The result was delicious! Sugar definitely reduces the acidity of the tomatoes and the heat intensity of the chilli.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it, Paul! Yup, sugar is definitely a good little cooking hack for acidic tomatoes 🙂
Best pasta arrabiata recipe I have tried so far, tastes just like in a restaurant. I wanted something hearty for supper and tried this, it checked all the boxes. It tasted amazing and i replaced the tomatoes with plain store bought pasta sauce at the time because i did not have any on hand and added a bit of cream at the end.
I am so happy to hear that!! Thanks for commenting, Ryan!
Debra Eve Harner-Kramer says
First time I’ve tried this brand and LOVE it. Not your mundane tomato taste. Extremely flavorful with good texture. Cooking and preparing good pasta and sauce is made better with the Arrabbiata brand
sugar is a no no 🙂
Don’t add it if the tomatoes are sweet. 😊
ayaana syed says
yeah i better not put it in my pasta Arrabiata
sheenam | thetwincookingproject.net says
This pasta looks yummmm!!!
Kate Berkey says
I was looking for a pasta recipe for the whole family and I stumbled on this article. I read and followed the instructions carefully and I made it deliciously! Every member of my family is so happy! Thanks for this!
That's great! So happy you all liked it, Kate!
Natasha's Sister says
Ok you know this is one of my fave pasta recipes. Bring me some right now.
I was not able to pin recipe. It said URL not correct.
Hi Peggy! This is an ongoing issue... please try again as it seems to work intermittently. I've had several tech people looking into it, and no one can seem to figure out what's causing the issues. Sorry for the inconvenience. 🙁