Spicy Pepperoni Sauce with Penne

Coming from a traditionally Italian family, you can imagine how seriously we always took mealtime. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my beautiful mother cooking and baking away in the kitchen. To unwind at night, she would, and still does to this very day, sit in her comfy chair thumbing through various food and gossip magazines with her handy pen nearby in case she should happen across a dish that really catches her eye. She is always on the hunt for something new and exciting, a recipe that is really going to shake things up at dinnertime, and she has never been afraid of a challenge. She truly is an amazing women, to say the least.

Spicy Pepperoni Sauce with Penne

This recipe is proof of how the simplest things in life can be the best. As quick and easy as it may be, it quickly became a mutual favorite of ours (and has remained so for many years now). Its simplicity makes it a perfect weeknight meal, but its unbeatable flavor has always made it a huge success at gatherings. Of the many variations of this dish that are out there, none are quite like my mother’s, and none have ever tasted nearly as good (things always have a tendency of tasting better when she makes them). Let’s see what you think!

Preparation time: 1 minute

Total time: approximates 30 minutes

Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 lb. (1 box) penne, rigatoni, or cavatelli Pasta (I personally love this sauce with fresh cavatelli)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 small red chili’s, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. pepperoni, sliced (I use Hormel or Margherita brand)
  • 1-2 4 oz. cans sliced mushrooms *you can determine the amount you want to use based on personal preference. If you’re not really a fungi fan, feel free to leave them out red-pepper-flakesaltogether; the sauce will still taste amazing regardless.
  • 2 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup (50 g.) Pearls’ Infusions brand jalapeno sliced California ripe olives (while optional, these make an exceptionally delicious addition to this sauce)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed *I’m a garlic lover, so feel free to add more based on your own personal tastes
  • ½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

  1. PearlsIn a medium nonstick sauté pan, heat the olive oil, red pepper flakes, and garlic over medium heat until garlic is golden (about 5 minutes)
  2. Add the pepperoni and mushrooms and sauté until pepperoni is crisp and the mushroom have softened.
  3. Next, add the tomato sauce and black olives and allow the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  5. Add your pasta of choice and cook according to package directions, until al dente. *For dry cavatelli you will want to cook it for 8 minutes. If using fresh cavatelli, cook about 4-5 minutes or until al dente.
  6. Strain the pasta and return to the pot.
  7. Cover with sauce, garnish with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.
  8. ENJOY!

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