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An Easy Recipe For Penne Al Arrabiata - That Tastes Much More Complicated Than It Really Is!

Updated on April 15, 2014
This dish tastes great whether you use cutlery or your fingers!
This dish tastes great whether you use cutlery or your fingers!

A Family Favourite

This is my favourite recipe, and it's so easy! It's penne al'arrabiata, but with a twist. If you love pasta and you like your pasta sauce a bit spicy and interesting, then this is the recipe for you.

I use the following quantities when I make this dish for my husband, myself and our two-year old.

I usually set aside some sauce for my daughter before adding the chilli, although the other day she insisted on trying the full version, in a brazen "I can handle it" type of mood. But she got a little more than she bargained for, and is sticking to her version from now on!


2 tins (cans) of chopped tomatoes

1 medium chopped onion

1 dried chilli pepper, chopped up very small

300ml (10.5 fl oz) single cream

6 tbsp olive oil

300g (10.5 oz) penne pasta

salt and pepper for seasoning (if desired)

These are the basic ingredients. Of course, you can vary them according to your taste. I sometimes like to use chopped tomatoes with added herbs or garlic. Alternatively (if you're not as lazy as me!) you may wish to add your own actual herbs or chopped garlic. But you might decide that this sauce contains enough lovely flavours as it is. The choice is yours!

How To Cook It

Boil up the pasta according to the instructions on the packet, and while you're doing this gently fry the chopped onion in the olive oil. You can also add the chilli pepper at this point, unless you need to separate out some of the sauce later on (for a young child, or for anybody else who doesn't like chilli).

When the onion turns translucent add the tomatoes and the cream. The cream is the "twist", by the way! It changes the whole flavour and texture of the sauce, from sharp and tangy to creamy and comforting; and it also seems to balance the heat of the chilli really well.

Lovingly stir over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the cream starts to thicken - you don't want a watery sauce! Season with salt and/or pepper according to your preference.

If you've delayed adding the chilli, it is at this point that you can separate out any chilli-free sauce. Then, if you haven't already done so, add the chilli and heat gently for another few minutes.

By now the pasta should be ready. Drain the pasta, add the sauce and mix together. Serve, and enjoy with a nice glass of red wine!

(Unless you're tea-total or two years old, in which case fruit juice also works well...)


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