Penne Arrabiata with Brown Rice Pasta

The last meal of our two-week honeymoon in Italy was in Rome- on the way to the airport. And I'll never forget it. It was penne tossed in a spicy red sauce. My first Arrabiata.

Here's my gluten-free version- a simple and fast recipe perfect for a weeknight supper.

Gluten-free penne arrabiata
Gluten-free penne arrabiata- spicy and easy

Penne Arrabiata Recipe with Brown Rice Pasta

Use fresh Roma tomatoes in this classic Italian recipe- or go postmodern and grab a can of spicy diced tomatoes from the pantry. Hey I'm no snob- I've used both. And both are delicious. Make this quick and easy pasta sauce as spicy or as mild as you like. There's plenty of room for improvisation in this simple recipe. Follow your taste buds.


14 oz. gluten-free penne pasta, such as Tinkyada Brown Rice Penne
4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4-6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 pint Roma tomatoes, diced- or 1 14.5 oz. can Muir Glen organic fire roasted diced tomatoes with spicy chiles
2-4 oz. chopped roasted green or red chiles- hot or mild, according to taste
Hot red chile pepper flakes, to taste
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
A goodly splash or two of balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan or vegan cheese, or omit for dairy-free
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the penne until it is al dente- tender but still slightly firm.

Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, heat roughly 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat; add the onion; stir and cook until softened. Add the chopped garlic; stir and cook for a minute.

Add in the fire roasted diced tomatoes, chopped roasted chiles, red pepper flakes, sea salt and pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine.

Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer, lower the heat and keep on a low simmer while you boil the penne pasta.

When the penne is ready, drain it and pour it into the skillet.

Drizzle the cooked penne with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (or use pasta water). Toss the penne gently to coat it in the Arrabiata sauce.

Serve in warm bowls. Sprinkle generously with shredded Parmesan or vegan cheese, and some fresh chopped parsley.

Pour some cheap Italian red (and read this fun piece at the New York Times blog by Freakonomics author on Cheap Wine). Thanks Elise, for the heads up this article.

Serves 4.


Fresh Roma tomatoes are traditional- but in a pinch I've used all kinds of different varieties- even yellow heirloom tomatoes. Why not? [Just don't tell Mario Batalli.]

More Mediterranean Recipes Featuring Pasta:

Mediterranean Tuna and Artichoke Pasta
Pesto Zucchini Tomato Gratin
Mediterranean Pasta Frittata
Pasta with Toasted Pecans, Raisins & Artichoke Hearts


  1. Oh how I have a weakness for good pasta, and as always, you have posted a great recipe and a wonderful photo of the finished product. I wonder when Microsoft will develop scratch-n-sniff Windows so I can get a whiff of that garlic, parmesan, and.... wow, I can almost smell it and taste it regardless!

  2. Hi Karina,

    I actually FORGET to use pasta recipes these days, what with being celiac and all, but I do love Tinkyada's line of noodles. Thanks for helping me remember there's an alternative to chicken & beef!


  3. I love pasta but cant find good GF pasta here, unfortunately! This recipe looks so gorgeous though that I might start looking for GF pasta again. Sadly Tinkyada hasnt reached the UK yet!


  4. Move over sugarplums...I'll take chiles anytime!

  5. Big hit with my family. I altered the recipe slightly with canned salmon, mini-tomatoes (grape tomatoes), red wine viengar, and no herbs. The last two were because I thought I had it and instead of running up to the market I improvised-first lesson to successful cooking. :) Thanks for posting a yummy recipe and as always I look forward to your next creation.

  6. Big hit with my family. I altered the recipe slightly with canned salmon, mini-tomatoes (grape tomatoes), red wine viengar, and no herbs. The last two were because I thought I had it and instead of running up to the market I improvised-first lesson to successful cooking. :) Thanks for posting a yummy recipe and as always I look forward to your next creation.

  7. Hi, Mike! Ah - blogs with smell-a-vision? Bring on the garlic!

    Hey Kathy! We don't have pasta as much as we used to pre-GF, either. And every time I make it I think, Why don't we? Tinkyada is so-o-o good.

    Hi Dianne! Tinkyada is a Canadian company - I'm surprised you don't have it there. You'll have to start asking your grocer to carry it. ;-)

    Hey Vanessa! I'm with you...

    Freckled Face Mama! Awesome. I love improvisation stories. My goal is to inspire more improvisation in the kitchen. Yay!

    Thanks for sharing your tips.

  8. I tried this recipe tonight and it was delicious! I topped it off with some grilled chicken breasts. Mmm... My husband and sister loved it too!

  9. Hi Kelley! Happy New Year! Grilled chicken sounds fab with this penne. Thanks for sharing the tip. ;-)

  10. This recipe was the last thing I made in 2006 and helped my complete my resolution of making 26 new things in 2006.

  11. Beastmomma, I am honored that my recipes were included in your 2006 resolution to try 26 new recipes. Wow.

    So, I have to ask. How many new recipes are you doing THIS year? ;-)

  12. This was a great hit with my family, even the kids who don't normally like spicy things. Thanks so much Gluten Free Goddess.

    You have inspired me so much that I just started my own recipe blog: featuring vegetarian wheat-free recipes and I have of course listed you as one of my favorite web links.

    Thanks again for sharing so many of your fabulous recipes.

    Rachel, Old Saratoga Books

  13. Hi Karina,

    I was wondering whether you had any suggestions for what to do with leftover penne. My mind keeps coming up blank.... I made way, way too much Sunday evening. Also, how do I revive it? Pour some hot water over it and drain?

    As always, thanks for your advice and suggestions!

  14. Hey ~M! I do that too. And yes, the best way to revive leftover cold pasta is to toss it into a colander and pour fresh hot water over it.

    I like to make my Cheesy Uncheese sauce with leftover penne. So easy- I make the sauce in a saucepan, revive the penne, mix the penne and hot sauce together- dinner is done!

    Sometimes I pour it all into a baking dish and add some chopped spinach, sliced tomatoes, maybe some tuna or salmon, and GF bread crumbs- then bake it for 20 minutes. Comfort food.

    Let me know what you come up with!



  15. Thanks for the tip - we just did your cheese sauce by itself (I was going to say plain cheese sauce, but the flavor is way too complex to be called plain). Nice! And we made your buckwheat strawberry (and I added blueberry) muffins as a cake earlier in the week. :)

  16. A previous version of this recipe was published in 2006 and the first few comments may reflect that fact.


  17. Guess what I made for dinner tonight????

    We thoroughly enjoyed it - thanks! I love Tinkyada pasta, though I must admit that Trader Joe's brown rice pasta is equally as good (and less expensive).

  18. Yum! I've not seen that variety Muir Glenn tomatoes; I'll definitely keep an eye out for them. This is a terrific dish and will go on my must make list.

  19. Oohhhh.....sounds so delicious.
    I love spicy tomato sauce.
    I should have made this last night....darn it.

  20. This looks great. Honestly one of my favourite dishes is spicy tomato sauce over whole wheat pasta or spaghetti squash.

  21. Loved it.
    It is a nice simple recipe that I could whip up and enjoy.
    The kids liked it too.
    I added diced zuchinni , fresh from the garden when I added the onions.
    This was great!

  22. This has become my go-to dinner for evenings I want something quick, easy, and guaranteed to please the whole family. Thank you!

  23. Milhan- I agree- the Trader Joe's brown rice pastas are excellent!

    Paula- Muir Glen Organic tomatoes are really good; you might find them in the "natural food section" of your market.

    Vegan Tickles- Today is a new day!

    Parker- Ummm...spaghetti squash!

    Tricia- Adding zucchini sounds fabulous!

    Pam- I'm so glad! And you can always add protein to it- with white beans, tuna, chicken, beef, etc.


  24. I just finished making (and eating!) this ... it was fabulous! I added some lean ground beef to it and used chipoltes for the chiles ... really spicy but really tasty!