You really can’t beat a Classic Arrabiata Sauce. Served with Penne and Smoked Sausage, this truly is the perfect mid week family dinner!
Arrabiata (or Arrabbiata) is one of my all time favourite pasta dishes. For me, there is no greater combo than tomato, spice and pasta and an Arrabiata sauce embodies just that.
Classic Arrabiata Sauce
A traditional arrabiata sauce is made up of a few, but good quality ingredients. The stars of the show are garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and of course chilli. ‘Arrabbiata’ means ‘angry’ in Italian, hence the chillis. Whilst the combo of garlic, olive oil tomatoes and chilli is divine, I’ve added a few other tasty extras to really bring this dish to life.
My Arrabiata Sauce
I add tomato puree (tomato paste in the US) for a really deep tomatoey flavour. I throw in some smoked sausage which really bulks out the dish and offers a gorgeous smokey spicy combo. I use parsley because I like how subtle it is and doesn’t over powder what is a very simple dish. I also add a pinch of sugar to balance out the spice and any acidity left in the tomatoes. Finally parmesan, because parmesan.
Starchy Pasta Water
This is a secret weapon in this sauce. There’s a notable amount of oil in a classic arrabiata sauce, and in order to combine this with the sauce (instead of it floating to the top and looking greasy) you need some of the water the pasta is cooked in. The starch molecules help emulsify the oils and combine them with the sauce, so the flavour of the oil is kept, but the texture is eliminated. Win win!
Process shots: Fry sausage in olive oil until brown (photo 1), add in garlic and chilli flakes (photo 2), stir in your tomato puree then add pasta water (photo 3), add the remainder of sauce ingredients and simmer (photo 4), add penne (photo 5), stir through parmesan and parsley (photo 6).
Let the Tomatoes shine!
Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US): It’s really important to fry the tomato puree. Tomato puree is actually quite acidic straight out the can, by frying it you actually sweeten it. It completely changes the flavour and really brings out the most in the puree.
Chopped Tomatoes: Ensure you grab some good quality tomatoes. I actually usually use skinless plum tomatoes and chop them up in the can. Plum tomatoes are richer in flavour and slightly sweeter. Chopped tomatoes work just fine though.
Do I have to use Penne?
Penne Arrabiata is the traditional way, but realistically you can use any pasta you’d like, so long as you reserve some starchy pasta water and only cook until al dente.
Do I have to add Smoked Sausage?
Nope! Traditional Penne Arrabiata actually doesn’t contain meat. With the same token if you’d like to use a different meat then grilled chicken works perfectly in this dish.
How much Chilli do I add?
Now this is completely down to preference. I find 1 tsp dried chilli flakes gives a nice kick, without being too overpowering. If you’re weary then I’d start with 1/2 tsp and adjust at the end. Better to have too little than too much!
Serving Penne Arrabiata
Once the sauce is nicely thickened it’s time to serve up. I usually give individual portions an extra sprinkle of parmesan and parsley, but this is optional. I also like to serve with some Homemade Garlic Bread (bonus points for Cheesy Garlic Bread or Cheesy Pesto Garlic Bread!)
If you’re looking for another spicy pasta recipe definitely make sure you check out my Spicy Chicken Pasta!
Hey, whilst you’re here why not check out my other recipes?
Easy weeknight family pasta dishes
- Penne Alfredo with Bacon and Sun Dried Tomato
- Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- Sausage Pasta in a Mascarpone Sun Dried Tomato Sauce
- Meatball Pasta Bake
- Vegetable Pasta Bake
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this Penne Arrabiata shall we?!
How to make Penne Arrabiata with Smoked Sausage (Full Recipe & Video)
Penne Arrabiata with Smoked Sausage
- Large Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Large Pot & Colander
- Fine Cheese Grater
Ingredients (check list):
- 12.3oz / 350g Penne
- 7oz / 200g Smoked Sausage (see notes)
- 2x 14oz / 400g good quality Chopped Tomatoes
- 1oz / 30g freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to serve
- 3 fat cloves of Garlic, very thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in the US)
- 2.5 tbsp good quality Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp finely diced Fresh Parsley, plus extra to serve
- 1 tsp Chilli Flakes, or to taste
- good pinch of Sugar
- Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
- Drizzle your olive oil into a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add sausage & fry for a few minutes each side until brown.
- Push to the edges of the pan then add your garlic & chilli flakes into the centre. Fry for a couple of minutes until the garlic begins to brown. Meanwhile pop your pasta in salted boiling water and cook until al dente, reserving 1/2 cup / 125ml starchy pasta water just before draining.
- Once your garlic becomes fragrant, add your tomato puree and fry for 1-2mins, then stir in starchy pasta water. Add your tomatoes then season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar. Allow to simmer for a good 10mins, or until it slightly thickens.
- Add your pasta then stir through your parmesan and parsley. Serve with extra parmesan/parsley and enjoy!
Quick 1 min demo!
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