Penne Pasta with Spicy Arrabiata Sauce

Crushed red pepper flakes and toasted garlic elevate pasta with tomato sauce
58 Ratings
100% would make again
Penne Arrabiata
Photo: Katie Foster/Tasting Table

Arrabiata translates to "angry," referring to the simple tomato sauce's kick of heat. But the spice is comforting and welcoming from a chile flake-oil infusion, before the plum tomatoes are added and stewed to make a sauce. It's the perfect, easy recipe for a quick weeknight meal.

Penne Arrabiata

Recipe adapted from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


3 tablespoons olive oil

3 garlic cloves, divided, 2 smashed, 1 finely diced

¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 small red onion, finely diced

One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 pound dry penne pasta

½ cup packed basil leaves, plus more for garnish


1. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil, smashed garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Gently cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil is fragrant and the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes are lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.

2. Increase the heat to medium, add the finely diced red onion and garlic, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, breaking them apart into large chunks with a flat wooden spoon, and season with the salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until a loose sauce forms, 12 minutes.

3. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne to the water and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and return to the pot with the reserved water. Add the arrabiata sauce to the pasta and cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the basil leaves, then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Garnish with a few basil leaves and serve.

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