To deliver an arrabbiata with complex flavor and not just searing heat, we looked beyond the tradition of using only red pepper flakes and crafted a recipe that included three different types of pepper. By supplementing pepper flakes with paprika and pickled pepperoncini, we built deep flavor while keeping the spiciness in check. Pecorino Romano, tomato paste, and anchovies, while difficult to detect in the sauce, add umami notes and richness to this traditionally simple sauce. Finally, using processed canned tomatoes helps bring the sauce to the table quickly and allows you to enjoy it year-round.


  • 28 oz. whole peeled tomatoes
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup pepperoncini, stemmed, patted dry, and minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced to paste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano, plus extra for serving
  • 1 pound penne


1. Pulse tomatoes and their juice in a food processor until finely chopped, about 10 pulses.
2. Heat oil, pepperoncini, tomato paste, garlic, pepper flakes, anchovies, paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until deep red in color, 7 to 8 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes and Pecorino and bring to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
4. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot. Add sauce and toss to combine, adjusting consistency with reserved cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing extra Pecorino separately.


This recipe will work with other short tubular pastas like ziti or rigatoni


America's Test Kitchen


6 servings


European : Mediterranean : Italian