Bucatini all’arrabbiata

Bucatini all’arrabbiata from Rome

There are two very well-known spicy pasta dishes in Italy. One is pasta with nduja from Calabria, made with a soft spicy salami. The other is this vegetarian recipe called all’arrabbiata or just arrabbiata from Rome.

bucatini arrabbiata

Arrabbiata is good for you!

In general, Italian food can’t be described as spicy. However, in Southern Italy especially, they love to use Italian red chili peppers (peperoncino) in many dishes. The Southern Italians believe that peperoncino is not only good for your heart, but that it is also an aphrodisiac! 

Both penne and bucatini are traditionally used in this recipe, so either would be a good choice. Grooved penne (rigate) is more popular than smooth (lisce). I used bucatini.

pasta arrabbiata ingredients


What does ‘arrabbiata’ mean?

Arrabbiata, meaning angry, is an as-spicy-as-you-want-to-make-it flavorful pasta dish which is very simple to make and requires very few ingredients. It is quite a famous dish in Italian cuisine, having been immortalized by Italian films such as The Great Abducted (La grande abbuffata) by Marco Ferreri, Rome by Federico Fellini and Seven Kilos in Seven Days (7 chili in 7 giorni) with Carlo Verdone.

The name arrabbiata derives from the fact that eating this dish may turn you red in the face because of the chili! Just like when someone gets angry!

pasta arrabbiata sauce


Arrabbiata is very easy to make!

The main ingredients for this traditional Roman recipe are peeled tomatoes, pecorino Romano, garlic, chili pepper, parsley, salt and extra virgin olive oil.

All you need to do to make all’arrabbiata is to fry garlic in some olive oil, add fresh chilli (peperoncino) and then peeled tomatoes cut into pieces. Season with salt and pepper and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes. Prepare the pasta, add it to the sauce once it is al dente and serve with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and lots of grated Roman pecorino. That’s it!


The Tomatoes.

The original recipe for arrabbiata calls for peeled fresh tomatoes. I altered this a bit and decided to use fresh cherry tomatoes and a little tomato passata ( my favourite is Cirio passata rustica). You can also use a tin of peeled tomatoes. I would, however, suggest that you use a good Italian brand. Because this is such a simple recipe, the quality of the ingredients makes a difference to the end result.

arrabbiata bucatini

If you do try this all’arrabbiata pasta recipe from Rome, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.

Your feedback means a lot to me!

Buon Appetito!

Other recipes from Rome on The Pasta Project.

  1. Spaghetti alla Carbonara
  2. Pasta alla Gricia
  3. Sausage rigatoni alla Zozzona
  4. Spaghetti alla Checca

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bucatini all arrabiata

Bucatini all'arrabbiata
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

A delicious spicy vegetarian pasta dish from Rome that's very quick and easy to make.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Central Italy, Italian, Rome & Lazio
Keyword: arrabbiata, bucatini, peperoncino, spicy, spicy pasta
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline Debono
  • 400 g Bucatini (14oz) or penne rigate
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 g grated pecorino Romano (3.5oz)
  • 2 fresh red chilli peppers peperoncino
  • 1 handful fresh Parsley chopped
  • 400 g ripe tomatoes (14oz) peeled or 12 cherry tomatoes and 350 g passata rustica
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  1. Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Once it starts to boil add salt and bring to the boil again.

  2. If you are using fresh tomatoes, rinse them in cold water. Then remove the stalks and cut an X into the top of each tomato. This makes peeling them easier. Put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. After a couple of minutes immerse them in cold water and peel them. Cut them in half and remove the pips.

  3. Take the chili peppers, cut them in half and remove the seeds and then cut them into small strips. Be careful not to touch your eyes or mouth while you do this and wash your hands well afterwards. If you don’t have fresh chili you can used 2-3 teaspoons of peperoncino flakes.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan or skillet.

  5. Add the garlic cloves (whole or finely chopped as you prefer) and the chili pepper to the pan and cook for a minute or two, stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent them from burning.
  6. Then add the peeled tomatoes cut into cubes or the cherry tomatoes and cook for a few seconds at a high heat.
  7. Lower the heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. If you are using cherry tomatoes and passata, add the passata now.
  9. Stir well and then simmer the sauce uncovered for 15 minutes.
  10. Cook the pasta al dente in the boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet.

  11. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the sauce. Mix everything together well.
  12. If your garlic cloves are whole ( which is what I prefer to do) remove them.

  13. Serve the pasta with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and lots of grated pecorino Romano.
Recipe Notes

I used bucatini but penne rigate is also a typical pasta used in this dish.

Arrabbiata from Rome

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1 Comment

  • Avatar
    Tom T
    July 15, 2020 1:43 pm

    Nothing beats an Arrabiata. So simple, so good. Has made it at least once a week for more than 25 years.
    Agree on the comment about using quality tomatoes (and of course really good olive oil). But I must confess I prefer Strozzapreti or Gemelli. That would probably send me to an insane asylum in Italy 😉
    Keep up the great work! A very inspirational site, indeed. /T

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