Penne alla Arrabbiata

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Spice up your usual pasta dish!

In Italian, “arrabbiata” means “angry”. And this traditional sauce, with its red chili peppers, certainly packs a lot of heat! But you’ll be feeling only happy, satisfied, and invigorated by this Italian classic. A simple sauce to prepare, it uses a basic red tomato sauce as a base, but adds spice and texture with the addition of chilis and Pecorino. If you’re a fan of Italian cooking, this is an important sauce to master and have in your repertoire. Once you made it once, you’ll find it simple to whip up again and again.

This healthy sauce is no slouch when it comes to nutrition. Loaded with antioxidant-rich tomatoes, this sauce is low in calories and fat, due to its preparation with only light, simple ingredients, including extra virgin olive oil and fresh parsley. Chilis add flavor, but also provide capsaicin, which has been proven to reduce one’s risk of diabetes, cancer, and fights inflammation, boosts immunity, and reduces cholesterol.

Simply saute your garlic and chili in olive oil, then add tomatoes and let the mixture simmer while you cook your pasta. This easy recipe will become a weeknight favorite, and is one that you can feel comfortable serving to guests with a beautiful cheese platter or side salad, or just as a family favorite with a salad or veggies. Italian families keep the ingredients for these types of traditional sauces on hand at all times, which makes whipping up dinner simple, even on the most hectic of evenings!

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Penne alla Arrabbiata

Loaded with antioxidants and other essential nutrients, this pasta dish is a spicy reminder of how wonderful Italian cooking is.
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 6 people
Serving Size 1.5 cups
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian


  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 or 2 red chilis of choice (depending on how spicy you want it), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 ounces tomato puree can
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 14 ounces whole-grain penne
  • parsley fresh, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pecorino romano or parmesan cheese, grated (optional)


  • Over medium heat, in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, sautè the garlic and chili.
  • When the garlic turns golden, add the tomato sauce. Cook for about 30 minutes on low - medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Over medium-high heat, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add some salt when it boils then put the pasta. Cook the pasta following the number of minutes indicated in the pack.
  • When the pasta is cooked, drain (leave about a cup of water in case you need it), then add to the sauce in the saucepan. Mix well.
  • If the pasta seems dry, pour the water gradually, just enough to wet it more.
  • Sprinkle the parsley and Pecorino Romano (if using), drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.


*Nutrition data includes the optional cheese 

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 175mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 4g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 10
Keywords Diabetic-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Pasta, Vegetarian

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Rowena Dumlao-Giardina

Rowena is a recipe developer and food & travel writer/photographer from Italy with Asian roots. Creating healthy dishes in her own kitchen is priority. She believes there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that her family is eating natural & nutritious meals.

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