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Penne Arrabbiata

'Arrabbiata' means angry in Italian and probably the name comes from the cooking style for this sauce. The sauce is cooked from a cold pan using cold oil, unlike most other pasta sauces which usually require the oil, onions and garlic to be hot before adding the other ingredients. In this case, an Italian with a hot temper dropped everything into a pan without thinking then started to cook!

Note that rigate is used as the penne pasta. Rigate pasta has a pitted surface that will better hold the sauce whereas penne lisce has a smooth surface.


500g penne rigate
1kg tomatoes
1 onion
3 finely sliced cloves garlic
3 or 4 chillies
5 or 6 large basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil

Cooking Instructions

  • Boil the tomatoes first. Slice off the upper part where the stalk is and boil them in water for 5 to 10 minutes until the skin is breaking. Remove them from the boiling water and peel them whilst still hot. If they are adequately boiled then the skin will peel off easily.
  • Slice the onion into tiny rings and peel the garlic.
  • Put all the ingredients together in the sauce pan still cold - this is the trick for this sauce. Heat the pan on low, stirring the sauce until the tomatoes start to melt, then leave until it begins to resemble a gravy. It will take about 30 to 40 minutes to cook the sauce, after which you can process the sauce through a blender if preferred.
  • Boil the water for the pasta and drop the penne into the boiling water. Cook until al dente (about 10 minutes).
  • Take a frying pan and put a few drops of olive oil in. Pour the penne in and add the sauce on high heat for 2 minutes, keeping the pasta on the move.
Serves 6 people

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