Spicy Penne all'Arrabbiata {and the Willingness to Suffer}

Make this super satisfying pasta dish the next time you're craving comfort food with a spicy kick!

Spicy Penne all'Arrabbiata | Get the recipe on Taste As You Go!

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If you follow me on social media, then you know I've been sick for the past several days (see here and here). Of course, our sweet girl was sick first, and she passed her germs along to my husband. The two of them were sick for about a week before the germs finally found their way into my system. Needless to say, I was not happy about getting sick... especially since I had been diligent about hand-washing and disinfecting everything.

I was at work when I felt the first signs of my cold. Before I could talk myself out of it, I packed up some of the projects I'd been working on and went straight home. I thought taking a nap and getting some rest would nip things in the bud, but I was wrong. I woke up the next morning with sinus congestion and a cough.

Diced San Marzano Tomatoes with Basil | Taste As You Go

Under regular circumstances, I'd take over-the-counter sinus medication and push on. But I'm well into my second trimester now (almost in my third!), and I'm hesitant to take any medication unless I need it... even when equipped with a list of safe medications to take while pregnant from my OB.

Then I realized something. I was risking dragging out my cold or having it develop into something worse by not taking any meds. Being sick for a mere 24 hours was already affecting my ability to get through the day... I couldn't focus on my work projects and I couldn't be the kind of mom I wanted to be.

Minced Garlic | Taste As You Go

My energy level was low and my motivation was even lower. I didn't want to go anywhere near my to-do list. What was worse, though, was not feeling up to interacting with Caroline as I usually do. I felt like I was failing her somehow by not being wholly present. She could sense that something was off because she kept patting my face and offering hugs... But she also wanted me to build with blocks, read books, and taste the pretend soup she made for me in her play kitchen.

This was not acceptable.

Dried Red Pepper Flakes, Dried Oregano, and Kosher Salt | Taste As You Go

I engaged in an internal debate with myself for about an hour. I read and reread the information about safe medications from my doctor. After that, I finally gave myself permission to stop suffering. I threw on some street clothes and ran out for sinus medication that was on the list. When I got home, I immediately took two capsules and waited...

Within 20 minutes, the sinus pressure was gone and I could breathe again. Hooray! And, despite a lingering cough, I was able to get back to life per usual.

Penne Rigate | Taste As You Go

Over the next few hours, I tried to understand why I couldn't make the decision to take medication faster. Why did I agonize so much about it? Why was I so willing to suffer from the cold symptoms?

I'm not sure how long it'll take me to figure out those answers. One day, I may even learn how to get there without going through the motions. But for now... The next time I mention being sick on social media, promise me something.

Arrabbiata Sauce | Taste As You Go

Don't hesitate.

Save me from myself and tell me to take something right away. And so I'm covered, thank you in advance. :)

Spicy Penne all'Arrabbiata | Taste As You Go

Pasta, Noodles, Spicy, Tomatoes, Sauce
Lunch, Dinner, Weeknight Meals, Easy Meals
Yield: 4-6 servings
Author: Taste As You Go // adapted from The Quick Six Fix
Spicy Penne all'Arrabbiata

Spicy Penne all'Arrabbiata

Make this super satisfying pasta dish the next time you're craving comfort food with a spicy kick!
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 30 Min


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 28-ounce cans diced San Marzano tomatoes with basil, drained
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano


  1. Cook the garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low.
  3. Add the red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, sugar, and lemon juice. Let simmer for 1 to 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a healthy handful of kosher salt and stir in the pasta.
  5. Cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the package instructs for al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  6. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to coat the penne. Add the reserved water to thin the sauce, if necessary.
  7. Stir in the Pecorino Romano. Serve the pasta in large bowls and garnish with additional cheese.

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