One of life’s greatest pleasures is sharing food with those you hold dear, and doing it with loved ones is even better. Conversation is frequently sparked over shared meals, making food another excellent conversation starter and a terrific way to meet new acquaintances. But the food shouldn’t steal the show; rather, it should be a delicious addition to the discussion. Pasta, like this recipe for spicy penne arrabbiata pasta sauce, is one of those foods that can bring people together for a shared dining experience.


To begin, you’ll need some tomatoes, garlic, cayenne pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and salt. Parmesan and pecorino romano cheeses, grated, are a common addition to pasta dishes. Penne pasta has ridges on the exterior that hold onto the sauce and the pasta, and the tubes on the interior that retain the sauce inside for the ideal bite every time. The sauce is a very basic tomato sauce. If you’d want extra meatiness, you may also sprinkle in some bacon bits.

This is the best Christmas cooking the family has ever done. Authentic Italian cuisine doesn’t get better than this Penne arrabbiata pasta sauce recipe.

Penne arrabbiata pasta recipe


Recipe by Jessica Alberts

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: Italian

Difficulty: Easy

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes


  • 350 g penne pasta

  • 1 packet bacon, or sausage, cut into pieces

  • olive oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste

  • ½ cup pasta water

  • 1 tin tomatoes (400g)

  • 1 tsp mixed herbs

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes, or 1 fresh chilli finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Fresh basil

  • Parmesan cheese

  • Feta cheese, optional


  • In a large pot, bring water to the boil. Add a dash of olive and oil and salt. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes till al dente. Drain the pasta and keep ½ of cup of the pasta water.
  • While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon in olive oil. When the bacon is cooked, remove the pan.
  • In the same frying pan, add the onion and sauté for a few minutes until soft.
  • Add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir to combine.
  • Add the tin tomatoes and mixed herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  • Add the cooked pasta and bacon to the sauce and stir.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes and add the fresh basil.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and feta cheese before serving.

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