The Pasta Series: Penne Arrabbiata

The Pasta Series: Penne Arrabbiata


This is spicy therapy, which most definitely requires a glass of wine. This tomato based sauce requires a bit of a slow cooking method, wherein the longer you let the sauce simmer, the better the flavor. This sauce must be made before you boil the pasta.

The spice level is definitely high in my recipe, but this is adaptable as per your heat tolerance. The garlic and onions are cooked first on low flame for a good 10-12 minutes – really, really sweat them out. Then you add the chilies, and you should be welcomed with a lovely red tinge to the oil. I use both chopped tomatoes and tomato puree – I like a bit of a chunky sauce, but the tomato puree really adds the required tang to the sauce. Let this sauce simmer with a pinch of sugar and if you have fresh basil or oregano, use them liberally.

This sauce is multipurpose – use it as a spicy tomato dip for toasted bread, layer on grilled veggie sandwich and whatever else…

See video tutorial:

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The Recipe
Serves Serves: 1 | Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 45 mins


  • Handful of penne, boiled al dente (amazon link)
  • ¼ cup pasta water
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp pepperoncini
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 100ml tomato puree (Amazon link
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • parmesan cheese


  • Heat the olive oil in a medium pan, with the garlic
  • Once the garlic starts to sizzle and fry (should take around 7 minutes on medium heat), add the onions, red chili flakes and red jalapeno slices
  • Once the onions are transluscent, add the tomatoes and dry herbs and stir to coat with seasoning
  • After 2 minutes, add the tomato puree and the pasta water, salt, pepper and sugar and let the sauce cook, covered for 7-8 minutes, and then uncovered for another 8-9 minutes
  • Taste for seasoning and then add the pasta and stir well
  • Serve with parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

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The recipes are tried and tested, some are adapted from various places, and a few are passed down; but every one of them comes straight from the heart.