Spicy Pasta Arrabiata

Spicy Pasta Arrabiata

A quick and easy dish in which the pasta is smothered in a spicy tomato sauce! The penne is stirred in a garlic and chili-infused oil and then finished off with some fresh basil and parmesan cheese. Ultra-delicious and super-simple this dish has a beautiful depth of flavour.

Spicy Pasta Arrabiata

'Arrabiata' literally translates to 'angry' meaning spicy. This pasta is generally made with dried red chilies or red pepper flakes which are sauteed in olive oil along with minced garlic. Although I have used fresh red chilies in my recipe. As for the pasta, penne works best with Arrabiata sauce as the rich tomatoes collect inside the grooves. My favourite part of the pasta is the addition of fresh basil. It elevates the flavour so much.  Many people use parsley too but I prefer basil and fresh is best. And of course no pasta is complete without a handful of cheese. In an authentic Italian restaurant you will get pocorino with this dish but parmesan and grana padana both work wonderfully too. 

Spicy Pasta Arrabiata


  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup penne (approx 100g)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 fresh red chili (sliced) or 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 200 g tomatoes (skinless, finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp or to taste salt
  • 1/2 tsp grounded black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pasta water
  • 4 basil leaves (chopped)
  • fresh basil (for garnish)
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese


  1. Make a cross on the bottom of each tomato and add them in boiling water. Let simmer for 2-3 mins until you start to see the skin peel. Transfer to a bowl of cold water. Remove the peel and chop the tomatoes.
  2. Saute garlic in heated olive oil as soon as it isn't raw anymore add the chili. Saute for a minute. Make sure you don't brown the garlic.
  3. Then add your tomatoes and let them simmer for 10-15 mins. You will start to see the oil seeping on the sides.
  4. While the tomatoes are cooking boil your pasta. When boiled reserve 1/4 cup of the water. Don't wash the pasta otherwise the sauce won't stick to it that well.
  5. When the tomatoes are cooked add the tomato paste, pasta water, salt, grounded black pepper and chopped basil. Saute another 2 mins and then add your pasta. Toss well and adjust seasonings.
  6. Top with cheese and some more basil leaves. Enjoy!


  • Be cautious with the chilies, start with a smaller amount and adjust the spice level after tasting.

Spicy Pasta Arrabiata