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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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    • Moon Daisy profile imageAUTHOR

      Moon Daisy 

      5 years ago from London

      Thanks for the comment Journey *. Sorry it's taken me so long to reply, I have been away from the site for a while. Yes, she thinks she's tough sometimes. :)

    • Moon Daisy profile imageAUTHOR

      Moon Daisy 

      5 years ago from London

      Ah thanks Journey. I'm glad you enjoyed it! She's older now, but she still likes to push the boundaries with food. :) This is still a family favourite. I hope you get to try it and enjoy it! x

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      5 years ago from USA

      Hi Moon Daisy,

      This recipe sounds delicious. Thanks so much for sharing and I enjoyed your funny story about how your little daughter thought she could handle the spice. :)

      - Journey *

    • Moon Daisy profile imageAUTHOR

      Moon Daisy 

      6 years ago from London

      Thanks SanneL. I hope you get to try it, it's really easy, and tasty too. x

    • SanneL profile image


      6 years ago from Sweden

      This sounds so delicious and sounds very easy to make. And I loooove when its spicy!

      Bookmarked and I'll try it out very soon.

      Thank you!


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      its only d truth:)!!!1

    • Moon Daisy profile imageAUTHOR

      Moon Daisy 

      7 years ago from London

      Vanix, I'm so glad you tried it and that your parents enjoyed it! Thanks for this lovely feedback. :o)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      *loved it

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      thanks a lot 4 dis recepie its actually d first time ive made pasta,actually i made it 4 my parents and dey loved so thanx a lot!!:)

    • Moon Daisy profile imageAUTHOR

      Moon Daisy 

      8 years ago from London

      Thanks BkCreative! I hope that you enjoy it. I find it helps to stir lovingly :)

    • BkCreative profile image


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Excellent! I will try this. And as instructed, I will lovingly stir over the heat (Love that tip!)

      Thanks so much. Rated up of course!

    • Moon Daisy profile imageAUTHOR

      Moon Daisy 

      9 years ago from London

      Oh, me too, spicy is good! And spicy and creamy is quite delicious too. I hope you enjoy this dish if you try it, and thanks a lot for your comment!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      9 years ago from St. Louis

      I love pasta and make many different pasta dishes, but don't do too many cream sauces. I also like SPICY! This sounds like a delicious recipe and one I need to add to my repertoir. I'll be trying it soon. Thanks!

    • Moon Daisy profile imageAUTHOR

      Moon Daisy 

      9 years ago from London

      Thanks Marisue! Yes, it's really nice, we have it (at least) once a week!

      I hope you enjoy it too :)

    • marisuewrites profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      This sounds so good!! wow! I'm going to make it soon, I love pasta with lots of flavor and this would do the trick!

    • Moon Daisy profile imageAUTHOR

      Moon Daisy 

      9 years ago from London

      Oops, well sorry, lol!

      I'm the same when I'm shopping while I'm hungry. (Although that's worse because you actually end up buying lots more!) But maybe the rule that says you shouldn't shop when hungry should be extened to reading recipes...

      I love all sorts of pasta as well. I hope you enjoy this recipe if you try it!

      Best wishes :)

    • gjcody profile image


      9 years ago

      Moon Daisy ....Well, this is not a good time to be reading such a delicious hub. I want to eat the screen ..I am hungry ...That looks toooooo goood. I love different pasta receipts. I will definitely try this one. Thanks for sharing ....My best to you!

    • Moon Daisy profile imageAUTHOR

      Moon Daisy 

      10 years ago from London

      Thanks Ryan! Me too, pasta is one of my favourite foods.

      pcjunkychick, thanks! She's sometimes a bit of a fussy eater, so it's really good to find something that she enjoys so much!

    • pcjunkychick profile image


      10 years ago from OKC

      Yum cute pic :)

    • Ryan Hupfer profile image

      Ryan Hupfer 

      10 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      I looooove me some penne pasta! mmmm mmmm :)

      Thanks for being a HubMobster!


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