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Sheet Pan Crunchy Penne Arrabiata with Meat Sauce

 April 27, 2024

Penne Arrabiata is a fiery Italian recipe that combines tomatoes with chili flakes for just the right amount of heat! This is my Sheet Pan Crunchy Penne Arrabiata with Meat Sauce – a fun twist on the classic Italian recipe. It combines the arrabiata sauce with ground beef and a crunchy breadcrumb topping for a rich and hearty dish that is the perfect weeknight dinner, made in under 30 minutes!

A tray of the sheet pan crunchy penne arrabiata, sitting on a countertop

Friends, want to know the greatest thing that I have discovered in 2024? It’s none other than the magic of sheet pan recipes. If you’ve been to my blog lately, then you may have noticed that sheet pans have become my number one most-used kitchen utensil. From my Crispy Sheet Pan Chili Mac n’ Cheese to my Ultimate Sheet Pan Potatoes Au Gratin, sheet pans are truly the secret to getting perfectly-crispy recipes. And when it comes to baked pasta dishes? The sheet pan truly takes things to the next level!

So, when I found myself craving a spicy, hearty Penne Arrabiata, I knew that I needed to make it on a sheet pan. The end result? A creamy pasta dish that has the perfect, even, crunchy topping. The sheet pan ensures that everything cooks evenly, so every bite has that delicious crunch.

And for my gluten-free friends: this recipe can easily be made gluten-free! Simply swap out the penne pasta for a gluten-free pasta of your choice, and opt to use gluten-free breadcrumbs for the topping. If you can’t find any, you can also toast a few slices of your favorite gluten-free bread and toss them into a food processor. Then, process until you get a fine breadcrumb. It’s as simple as that!

What You Need to Make This Easy Sheet Pan Pasta Dish

  • Penne Pasta: Penne pasta is perfect for this recipe! You can also opt to use gluten-free pasta here, if you prefer.
  • Olive Oil: To cook the onion, garlic, and meat, I like to choose a better-for-you oil such as olive oil.
  • Yellow Onion: Yellow onion has a mild, onion flavor that tastes perfect in this recipe.
  • Ground Beef: Lean ground beef is always my go-to for pasta recipes. I recommend going for 85/15 or 90/10 ground beef, for this recipe!
  • Garlic: I always recommend using fresh garlic cloves whenever possible, and this recipe is no exception!
  • Seasonings: A combination of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and ground black pepper adds the perfect flavor profile to this pasta.
  • Arrabiata sauce: To make this pasta even easier to make, I recommend using a jarred arrabiata sauce. My favorite is by Rao’s – it has the best flavor!
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs add a delicious crunchy topping that truly makes this pasta come to life!
  • Parmigiano Reggiano: Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano truly adds the most delicious flavor to this pasta dish, WAY better than your pre-shredded parmesan cheese. If there’s one ingredient that’s worth the splurge, it’s this one!
  • Basil: A sprinkle of chopped basil adds the perfect finishing touch to this pasta dish!
A pot filled with the arrabiata meat sauce, with the penne pasta actively being mixed into it
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, until it is just slightly less than al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water after cooking, then add it to the pot with the beef alongside the jarred arrabiata sauce. Then, toss the pasta in.

How to Make This Crispy and Saucy Sheet Pan Pasta

To make this dish, start by preparing the pasta. Heat a large pot, full of water, on the stove, and cook the pasta according to the package instructions, until it is just slightly less than al dente. The pasta should still have bite to it!

Next, heat a large skillet, on the stove, over medium heat, and add in the olive oil. Dice the onion, mash the garlic, and once the oil is hot, add them to the pan alongside the garlic powder, italian seasoning, and ground black pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onions begin to soften.

Then, add in the ground beef and use your cooking utensil to break the meat into small pieces. Cook until the meat is browned and cooked through. Once the pasta is done, drain it well and reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Set the pasta aside.

Next, pour the arrabiata sauce and reserved pasta water into the meat mixture and stir to mix them well. Add the cooked pasta to the pot with the sauce and toss to coat well. Next, grab a large baking sheet and spray it well with oil. Add the pasta to the sheet pan, spreading it out into an even layer.

Set the tray aside while you prepare the topping. Add the panko breadcrumbs and grated parmigiano reggiano to a bowl and mix them to combine. Then, sprinkle the cheese and breadcrumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Transfer the tray to the oven and broil the pasta for 5-7 minutes, or until the top gets crispy and evenly browned. Be sure to watch the pasta carefully, so that it doesn’t burn!

Once it’s done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Top with chopped basil and more parmigiano reggiano, if desired, then serve and enjoy!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! To see more recipes and behind the scenes, follow along on InstagramTikTok, and Youtube! I’m also now on Pinterest, so stop by and take a look at what’s new.

** Photography by Tanya Pilgrim
A tray of the sheet pan crunchy penne arrabiata, sitting on a countertop
Nut Free/Refined Sugar Free

Sheet Pan Crunchy Penne Arrabiata with Meat Sauce

No ratings yet
Nicole Modic
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
SERVES 4 Servings
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Penne Arrabiata is a fiery Italian recipe that combines tomatoes with chili flakes for just the right amount of heat! This is my Sheet Pan Crunchy Penne Arrabiata with Meat Sauce – a fun twist on the classic Italian recipe. It combines the arrabiata sauce with ground beef and a crunchy breadcrumb topping for a rich and hearty dish that is the perfect weeknight dinner, made in under 30 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 16 Ounces Penne Pasta
  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil divided
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion finely diced
  • 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef I recommend using 90/10 ground beef
  • 3 Cloves Garlic mashed
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 32 Ounce Jar Rao's Arrabiata Sauce
  • 1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano finely grated
  • Chopped Basil for garnishing

Instructions

  • To make this dish, start by preparing the pasta. Heat a large pot, full of water, on the stove, and cook the pasta according to the package instructions, until it is just slightly less than al dente. The pasta should still have bite to it!
  • Next, heat a large skillet, on the stove, over medium heat, and add in the olive oil.
  • Dice the onion, mash the garlic, and once the oil is hot, add them to the pan alongside the garlic powder, italian seasoning, and ground black pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onions begin to soften.
  • Then, add in the ground beef and use your cooking utensil to break the meat into small pieces.
  • Cook until the meat is browned and cooked through.
  • Once the pasta is done, drain it well and reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Set the pasta aside.
  • Next, pour the arrabiata sauce and reserved pasta water into the meat mixture and stir to mix them well.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the pot with the sauce and toss to coat well.
  • Next, grab a large baking sheet and spray it well with oil.
  • Add the pasta to the sheet pan, spreading it out into an even layer.
  • Set the tray aside while you prepare the topping. Add the panko breadcrumbs and grated parmigiano reggiano to a bowl and mix them to combine.
  • Then, sprinkle the cheese and breadcrumb mixture over the top of the pasta.
  • Transfer the tray to the oven and broil the pasta for 5-7 minutes, or until the top gets crispy and evenly browned. Be sure to watch the pasta carefully, so that it doesn't burn!
  • Once it's done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Top with chopped basil and more parmigiano reggiano, if desired, then serve and enjoy!

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