Maybe it’s just us, but pasta sauce from a jar makes us mad. Its flavors are dull compared to what you can make with a little effort at home. Whoever invented arrabbiata must have had us in mind: the name literally comes from the Italian word for angry. Made with real tomatoes and accented with chili pepper heat, this pasta sauce is lively and bright. It comes together in a cinch, too!
Wash and dry all produce. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Halve, peel, and dice onion. Mince or grate garlic. Core, seed, and dice Roma tomato. Mince chili pepper.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add half the pancetta from package (we sent more) and cook until slightly crispy, 2-3 minutes, tossing occasionally. Toss in onion and as much chili pepper as you like (careful—it’s spicy). Cook until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and toss until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Season with salt and pepper.
When water is boiling, add penne to large pot. Cook until al dente, 9-11 minutes. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking water.
Add Roma tomato, diced tomatoes, and 1 tsp sugar to pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add penne and spinach to sauce and toss until spinach is wilted. If needed, stir in a splash of pasta water to loosen sauce and give it an oozy consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide arrabbiata between plates. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.