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Penne all’ arrabbiata

  • Author: Silvana Lanzetta
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x


Penne all’arrabbiata (angry penne) is a classic dish from the Roman cucina povera. A few ingredients, well chosen, make a dish of an incomparable taste. King in this recipe is the chilli pepper



400 grams of penne

400 grams of canned tomatoes

80 grams of grated Pecorino Romano

2 garlic cloves, crushed

dried chilli pepper

a small bunch of parsley

2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt to taste


  1. Boil salted water in a large casserole. As soon as it boils, add the penne, and let cook at high temperature for 8-10 minutes (if unsure, check the cooking time on the packet)
  2. Meanwhile, Pour the oil in a large pan, and add the crushed garlic and some of the chilli pepper. Let it cook at low heat for 5 minutes
  3. Add the canned tomatoes. Raise the heat and bring to boil. As soon as it boils, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt to taste.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, reserve 2 tablespoons of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. 
  5. Add the pasta to the pan with tomato sauce, add 1 tablespoon of the cooking water (more in cse the sauce is very dense), and the grated pecorino. Saute for 1 minute, until the sauce has well coated the pasta.
  6. take the pan off the heat, add the chopped parsley, and mix carefully.
  7. Serve the penne all’arrabbiata with extra pecorino cheese and chilli on the side.


The oldest version of the penne all’arrabbiata doesn’t include pecorino cheese, so this is a dish that can be easily adapted for vegan tastes.

The Roman version of this dish, created in the 1930’s by the chef Giovanni Cotellesi, is much richer: it includes cubed ham (you can use cubed gammon if not finding prosciutto cotto), that needs to be sauteed with the garlic and the chilli. The recipe is the same from this point on, with the only difference that basil is used instead of parsley.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian
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