Here is proof that few simple ingredients go a long way in making a dish stand out of the ordinary. This minimalistic recipe, from the guru of Italian cuisine, Jamie Oliver, brings together everyday pantry staples to create the classic penne arrabiata. Freshly chopped tomatoes infused with the aroma of young basil leaves and spiced to you liking with fresh chilies [bit expensive these days] or chili flakes make the basis of arrabiata sauce. The pasta is cooked till al dente and then left to soak up the flavors of the piquant sauce before being served with a sprinkling of toasted bread crumbs and shavings of parmesan.



3-4 fresh red chilies, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

200 ml organic vegetable stock

400g penne pasta, uncooked

Bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked

25g parmesan cheese shavings

1/4 scotch bonnet chili, optional

Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

50g sourdough or ciabatta breadcrumbs

1/2 bunch mixed fresh herbs, chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped


  • Mix all pangrattato ingredients and a lug of olive in a bowl. Tip onto a baking tray, then spread out evenly.

  • Toast under the grill for 2 to 4 minutes, till lightly golden, giving tray a jiggle occasionally for even cooking.

  • Leave it aside. Add a splash of olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Fry chili and garlic for 1 to 2 mins.

  • Then pour in tomatoes and veg stock and bring up to a simmer. Add pasta to a pot of boiling salted water.

  • Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. When pasta is al dente, remove it from heat and drain.

  • Reserve a cup of the cooking water. Tip cooked pasta and most of the basil into the tomato sauce mixture.

  • Cook pasta for a further minute or so, adding a splash of the reserved cooking water to loosen it, if needed.

  • Divide between serving plates, then finish with a few shavings of Parmesan and the remaining basil leaves.

  • Sprinkle the scotch bonnet chilli and pangrattato on top along with a drizzle of olive oil. Makes 4 servings.