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Red Hot Chili Penne all'Arrabbiata Pasta Recipe

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Spice Up Your Dinner with Penne all’Arrabbiata!

In this new recipe video, the Foodie Sisters in Italy prepare a red hot chili Penne all’Arrabbiata pasta recipe. Perfectly al dente penne pasta is coated in a spicy tomato sauce, and packed with the fierce punch of red chili. This super easy version of a well-loved Roman classic will leave your taste buds tingling.

The dish is named arrabbiata after the Italian word for angry. It originated in Rome but is now found throughout Lazio and all over Italy. Hot red chilis are the fundamental ingredient. However, there are various interpretations, including the recipe below from the esteemed Italian cookbook Il Talismano della Felicità.

While this red hot chili Penne all’Arrabbiata pasta recipe is often a vegetarian dish made with garlic, parsley, and basil, this version uses prosciutto crudo cured ham. Along with onion, chili, and tomato sauce, it finishes with a dusting of pecorino romano cheese. The result is a tongue-tingling combination of sweet slow-cooked tomato, salty prosciutto, spicy chili, and creamy sheep cheese.

Penne pasta, named for its nib-like shape, is traditional for this recipe. You could substitute another short pasta for similar results. Remember the rules for perfect pasta: half a liter of water for every 100g of pasta, 10g of salt per liter of water, added when it starts to boil.

Red Hot Chili Penne all’Arrabbiata Pasta is supposed to be very spicy even though you can adjust the heat to your preference. Taste the sauce at the end of cooking and in case spice it up a bit more!

Penne all’Arrabbiata Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 6):

  • 600g (21.2 oz) penne pasta
  • 100g (3.5 oz) cured ham
  • 1kg (35 oz) canned tomato sauce
  • 1 fresh red chili pepper
  • 100g (3.5 oz) pecorino romano, grated
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt


  1. Add a good splash of olive oil to a pan and heat.
  2. Dice the onion and ham, then add them to the oil. At this point cook for a few minutes until the onion turns golden.
  3. Pour in the tomato sauce with a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
  4. Cut the red chili into small pieces and at last crush them a fork before adding it to the sauce.
  5. Boil the penne pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and add to the sauce, tossing well to coat.
  6. Transfer to a serving dish and generously coat with pecorino romano cheese.

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