Tomato & Chili Pepper Spaghetti all’Arrabbiata – Improv Challenge

Tomatoes and hot peppers

This month’s Improv Challenge? Tomatoes & Peppers -two veggies that are constantly showing up in my CSA share week after week and I am certainly not complaining. So the question was what to make? I decided to keep it simple in true Italian style.

This recipe is actually a bit of a mashup between two styles of pasta sauces: all’Arrabbiata (“angry” sauce), which features hot peppers, tomatoes, garlic and onions and all”Amatricianna, which features pork, tomatoes and pecorino cheese. For this sauce, I used a mix of hot peppers from my CSA share, which I roasted, some lovely heirloom tomatoes and diced prosciutto. If you wanted to make this vegetarian, swap smoked paprika for the prosciutto to get that smoky flavor.

Tomato & Chili Pepper Spaghetti all'Arrabbiata

These type of sauces work best with a thicker pasta like bucatini, penne or fusilli (an aside – I always think of Fusilli Jerry anytime I use the corkscrew pasta.)

Tomato & Chili Pepper Spaghetti all’Arrabbiata

Makes 4 servings


  • 2 hot peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion or 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 ounce prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes (about 2 cups), diced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 8 ounces spaghetti, penne or fusilli pasta (I use a mix of regular and whole wheat)
  • Parmesan, pecorino or other aged Italian cheese, grated


  1. To roast peppers, place on a baking tray and put under the broiler. Turn them with tongs every few minutes until skins are blackened. Place peppers in paper bag and let sit 20 minutes. Remove seeds and skins and dice. Set aside.
  2. Place a large skillet over medium heat, add oil. Add onions and prosciutto, saute for 6 -7 minutes, until onions become translucent and prosciutto is crisp, stirring frequently.
  3. Add tomatoes and peppers with dash of salt and pepper. Stir together and let come to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. While sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to package about 1 minute shy of recommended cooking time. When pasta is ready, add to the tomato & pepper sauce along with 1/2 cup or so of pasta water. Mix together and heat a few more minutes.
  5. Serve with freshly grated cheese.

Tomato & Chili Pepper Spaghetti all'Arrabbiata

What’s your favorite way to enjoy summertime tomatoes and peppers? See the thumbnails below for many more recipe ideas!

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  1. Beautiful dish! I love the freshness of the sauce!

  2. Oh! The hubs would love this! He’s forever sprinkling hot pepper flakes on spaghetti.

    Beautiful pictures of the finished dish, by the way.

  3. That makes for a lovely bowl of pasta! Great choice for the improv challenge.

  4. Gorgeous picture! I can only imagine how incredible this tastes.

  5. What an amazing way to combine tomatoes and peppers! Your spaghetti and sauce look delicious!

    Visiting from the Improv Cooking Challenge (#21 – Green Chile Pepper and Tomato Soup)


    Amber @ The Cook’s Sister

  6. What a wonderful dish! Yum!

  7. Looks gorgeous! Love your site!!

  8. Your pasta looks totally delicious and sounds wonderful with the spicy peppers.

    If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to check out my Improv Cooking Challenge entry: French Fries Hash Browns.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  9. This looks delicious with all the bright fresh colors. I loved this month’s two ingredients, didn’t you?! Thanks for the suggestion of how to make this vegetarian. Both of my vegetarian daughters are visiting right now and I needed the reminder about smoked paprika. Love that stuff but it is not in the front of my spices so I tend to forget about it. [Pulling it out now.]

    Many thanks,


  10. What a delicious pasta dish! Fresh, spicy and marvelous!!

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