A Taste of Italy – Penne Arribbiata

Within a month of Dennis and I getting married, we were on our way to Southern Italy for three years. It was Dennis’ last duty station in the Air Force. It was an interesting assignment in many ways. There were lots of visitors to his unit that needed to be entertained and provided dinner. So we ‘had’ to eat dinner out 4-6 times a week. Oh my! One of Dennis’ favorite dishes was Penne Arribbiata (‘angry’ sauce). I didn’t get the recipe while we were in Italy, but scoured my cookbooks once we were home. After several recipes and many, many tries – I finally had one that Dennis liked. I know I have made a good batch when after about the fourth bite – sweat starts popping out on his forehead. I have made batches that are too hot and some not hot enough. The peppers make all the difference – early in the season they are milder than late. After the growing season is over and they have been sitting a cooler somewhere waiting to be sold – watch out they will be spicy!

Many recipes from the Internet, cookbooks, and restaurants do not use the bacon as a meat. The restaurant where Dennis fell in love with the sauce served it this way. The chef also used real peppers, not red pepper flakes. I think it was these two items were the missing pieces in the early trials of re-creating this dish.

5 from 1 vote

Penne Arribbiata

Penne Arrabbiata is a spicy and flavorful Italian pasta dish that has become a family favorite, especially from our time living in southern Italy. Made with simple ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, this dish is easy to make and can be customized to suit your preferences. suggest you take it easy on the Serrano peppers, gradually increase on subsequent occasions.
The name "Arrabbiata" translates to "angry" in Italian, which is fitting for a dish that packs a spicy punch. But don't worry, you can adjust the amount of Serrano peppers to your liking, so it's not too fiery for your taste buds.
Some typical remarks people make about Penne Arrabbiata include: "This pasta has the perfect amount of heat – it's not too spicy but still has a nice kick.""The flavors in this dish are so bold and delicious – I can taste the fresh ingredients in every bite.""I can't believe how easy this recipe is to make – it's become a weeknight staple in our household.""I love that I can customize the spice level in this dish to suit my preferences.""The simplicity of this dish is what makes it so great – it's just a few ingredients but they all work together perfectly.""I've never been a big fan of spicy food, but this dish has converted me – it's just so good!" "Penne Arrabbiata is one of those classic Italian dishes that everyone should know how to make.""The combination of the garlic and tomatoes in this dish is just heavenly.""This pasta is so comforting and satisfying – it's like a warm hug in a bowl.""I can't wait to make this dish for my friends and family – I know they're going to love it!"
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 473 kcal


  • medium onion chopped medium
  • clove garlic Minced (fresh is best)
  • 1 ½ lbs bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 to 7 each Roma-tomato chopped medium to small
  • 12 oz. Pasta, Penne about 3/4 of box
  • 6 to 12 each Serrano peppers quantity will vary, based on hotness desired 6 mild, 12 medium hot, 18 HOT, more Volcano
  • 1 can V-8 juice, can 11.5 oz


  • Add bacon which has been sliced into 1 inch pieces to skillet, over low to medium heat.
  • Add cubed onions and garlic, and Serrano peppers, add when bacon is about 1/2 cooked.
  • Add the tomatoes to the mixture.
  • Add a can of V-8 juice. Mix.
  • Allow to simmer while cooking the pasta,
  • Do not overcook the pasta, Al dente's is the goal.
  • When done, add to the mix. Serve.


Left overs usually increase their intensity, otherwise this dish reheats well.

Nutrition Disclaimer

Paulson Pursuits is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.


Serving: 2ozCalories: 473kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 14gFat: 45gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 751mgPotassium: 230mgFiber: 0.05gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 60IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 0.5mg
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