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This 20 minute Italian arrabbiata sauce full of chunky tomatoes and red peppers is a simple recipe great for a quick, weeknight meal. | justalittlebitofbacon.com

Spicy Italian Arrabbiata Sauce

This 20 minute Italian arrabbiata sauce full of chunky tomatoes and red peppers is a simple recipe great for a quick, weeknight meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 220kcal
Author Just a Little Bit of Bacon


  • 16 oz pasta, such as penne or broken up lasagna noodles
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, with more for serving
  • kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • Begin heating a large pot of water for the pasta. Once your water begins boiling, add a good spoonful of kosher salt and cook the pasta. Dip into the pasta water with a coffee cup and take out about a cup of water.
  • Heat the olive oil and the garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute for 2 minutes, being careful not to burn or over brown the garlic. (A little golden is okay.) Add the tomatoes to the skillet, crushing the tomatoes in your hand as you add them. Bring the tomatoes to a simmer then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook them down for 10 minutes.
  • Add the pasta, 1/2 cup of the pasta water, the red pepper flakes, and parsley to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently and vigorously, until the sauce reduces and begins to coat the pasta, about 1 minute, adding more pasta water if needed. Keep cooking for a few moments more and you'll see the pasta and sauce become one. Add salt, pepper, and more red pepper flakes to taste.
  • Serve with grated parmesan and more parsley over the top.


  • I adapted (and altered a bit) this recipe from Mastering Pasta by Marc Vetri. This is a great book if you want to really get into making your own pasta and trying different sauces.
  • You can puree the tomatoes if you want a smooth sauce. For a chunky sauce with the tomatoes broken up just the right amount, using your hands is best. I've tried various methods and nothing beats breaking up the tomatoes as you add them.
  • I made the recipe using fresh pasta which I cut maltagliati style, which means cut into irregular rectangles and triangles. I liked them about 2 inches square. If you are using dried pasta, breaking up lasagna noodles into smaller pieces will produce a similar pasta shape.
  • If you are using dried pasta, begin cooking the pasta before you add the tomatoes to the sauce. However, if you are using fresh pasta, which will only take a couple of minutes, start cooking just before your tomatoes are done.


Calories: 220kcal