Penne Arrabbiata with Marinara Sauce

Serve either in a bowl or platter, drizzled with olive oil and topped with shavings of parmesan or cheddar cheese.

Carlisle Vaz June 15, 2012
When cooking Italian food, it is always good to spend some time in deciding what pasta should be used. This recipe is sauce based and penne pasta will work best with it. The sauce clings on to the exterior surface of the pasta and also accumulates inside each pasta piece ensuring that each bite has a bit of everything in it. Spaghetti or linguini is not a good choice for such a dish as the sauce simple runs off the surface of the pasta and settles at the bottom of the bowl or serving platter instead.

So let us start.


  • Penne Pasta

  • 2 Pods garlic

  • 1 Onion

  • 3 Tomatoes

  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

  • 4 Basil Leaves

  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Flakes

  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

  • Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Half Cup Water


  • Finely chop two cloves of garlic and sauté in a pan with olive oil. When the garlic loses its rawness add a finely chopped onion.

  • Cook the onions till they become translucent.

  • Coarsely chop three medium sized tomatoes and then add them to the pan. Continue cooking till the tomatoes start to break down and become soft.

  • Add some water to the pan at this stage and let the tomatoes continue to cook. This essentially is the marinara sauce in which the penne pasta will cook later on.

  • Add two tablespoons of tomato puree and a splash of lemon juice and continue cooking till the puree mixes well with the rest of the ingredients.

  • Add some more water and leave the sauce to cook. The term arrabbiata literally means ‘angry’ in Italian; in this case a spicy tomato sauce.

  • So add a teaspoon of red chili flakes or more depending ones threshold for pungency. The pasta as mentioned will cook in the sauce itself and so it does not need to be boiled beforehand.

  • Add the pasta to the sauce, along with some more water and leave it to cook. Since the pasta is not pre boiled, season with salt.

  • As the pasta keeps cooking water may need to be added from time to time.

  •  A good practice is to cut a piece of the pasta on the diagonal at different stages of the cooking process. The cross section will probably show a white ring which gradually disappears as the cooking process approaches the final stages.

  • When this ‘ring’ is only just visible, the pasta is ready. Turn off the flame and let the pasta continue to cook in the sauce for a bit. Add basil leaves and freshly ground pepper.

While most people prefer their pasta to be well cooked, here it is simply cooked Al Dente i.e. just right or to perfection.

Serve either in a bowl or platter, drizzled with olive oil and topped with shavings of parmesan or cheddar cheese.
Carlisle Vaz A business graduate from the Institute of Business Management, and a soon-to-be chef in the making.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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