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Small dinner plate filled with penne noodles tossed in homemade arrabbiata sauce.
5 from 6 votes

Penne Arrabbiata Recipe

Penne Arrabbiata is an easy and delicious Italian pasta dish made from simple ingredients including olive oil, garlic, dried red chili flakes, and tomatoes. Enjoy this irresistible, homemade Penne Arrabbiata Recipe with juicy baked chicken or meatballs for a complete, protein-packed dinner.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 349kcal


  • 1 pound penne pasta cooked according to al dente with 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes plus more or less to taste
  • 1 medium yellow onion minced
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh basil chiffonade


  • Cook pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions, subtracting at least 1-2 minutes from the cooking time. Drain and rinse (reserving at least 1 cup of starchy pasta water). Do not overcook.
  • Start the sauce. Add the olive oil and butter to a large, deep sauté set over medium heat. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring continuously, for approximately 2 minutes. Add the onions and mix well to combine. Cook for 4-6 minutes, or until soft and translucent, stirring often. Finally, add the minced garlic. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and tomatoes. Increase heat to medium-high. Mix in the tomato paste and cook, stirring continuously for approximately 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice and sugar and mix well to combine.
  • Simmer. Cook the sauce, mashing the tomatoes with a potato masher or wooden spoon. Allow the sauce to come to a low simmer before reducing heat to low. Allow the sauce to cook, uncovered, for approximately 25 minutes, mashing occasionally as needed.
  • Season to taste. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and additional crushed red pepper flakes, if desired (see notes). Stir in the basil.
  • Combine. Add the cooked penne to the prepared pasta sauce and mix well to combine. If the sauce is too thick, slowly add the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce until desired consistency is reached. Serve with additional basil, if desired.


Blend (optional). If you prefer a smoother sauce, transfer part, or all, of the sauce to a large blender and process until desired consistency is reached. For this recipe, I pulsed half of the sauce in the blender until smooth (but not soupy).


Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 71mg | Potassium: 291mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 529IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg
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