Red Hot Chili Penne all’Arrabbiata Pasta Recipe

In this new recipe video, Foodie Sisters in Italy prepare penne all’arrabiata, an Italian red hot chili pasta. Perfectly al dente penne pasta is coated in a spicy tomato sauce packed with the fierce punch of red chili in this appetizing version of a well-loved Roman classic.


This fiery dish is named arrabbiata after the Italian word for ‘angry’. Although it originated in Rome, it can now be found throughout the Lazio region and indeed all over Italy. Hot red chilis are the fundamental ingredient but there are various interpretations on the spicy theme, including the recipe below which comes from the esteemed Italian cookbook Il Talismano della Felicità.


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While penne all’arrabbiata is often regarded and made as a vegetarian dish and can be made with garlic, parsley, and even basil, this version instead uses prosciutto crudo cured ham along with onion, chili, and tomato sauce, finishing with a good dusting of pecorino romano cheese before serving. The result is a tongue-tingling combination of sweet slow-cooked tomato, a salty hint of prosciutto, a kick of spice, and a creamy note of sheep cheese.


Penne, whose name comes from the Italian word for ‘pen’ thanks to their nib-like shape, is the traditional pasta for this recipe, but you could substitute it for another short pasta for similar results. Just be sure to remember the rules for cooking pasta perfectly: half a liter of water for every 100g pasta, 10g salt for every liter of water (added when it starts to boil).


Arrabbiata is supposed to be a very spicy sauce but, depending on the heat of your chili and your own personal preference, you might want to add or decrease the amount. The key is to taste the sauce at the end of cooking and adjust the spice and seasoning just the way you like it!


Penne all’Arrabbiata

(Serves 6)

600g penne pasta

100g cured ham

1kg canned tomato sauce

1 fresh red chili pepper

100g pecorino romano, grated

Extra Virgin Olive Oil



Heat a good splash of olive oil in a pan.


Dice the onion and ham and add to the oil. Cook for a few minutes until the onion starts to turn golden.


Add the tomato sauce along with a pinch of salt then turn down the heat and let the sauce cook gently over low heat for about 30 minutes.


Cut the red chili into small piece and then crush with a fork before adding to the sauce.


Cook the penne pasta in boiling water until it is ‘al dente’. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, tossing it well to coat.


Pour into a serving dish and coat with a generous coating of pecorino romano cheese.


Buon appetito!

Red Hot Chili Penne all'Arrabbiata Pasta Recipe
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Red Hot Chili Penne all'Arrabbiata Pasta Recipe
Follow this video recipe to learn how to make spicy penne all' arrabbiata pasta. Try this delicious tomato sauce made with prosciutto, onion, and red chili to serve over penne pasta.
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Local Aromas
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