Penne alla Calabrese

Guido Pedrelli
Guido Pedrelli
Italian Cuisine Expert and Food Blogger
Guido Pedrelli
Guido Pedrelli, the mastermind behind Nonna Box, has honed his culinary expertise for decades, inspired by family feasts in Emilia-Romagna. Mentored by his restaurateur nonna, he mastered Italian classics and furthered his skills with professional culinary studies in desserts and gelato making from Mec3. Today, he shares this rich legacy and authentic recipes through Nonna Box.
Expertise: Italian cuisine, Pasta, Pizza, Pastry, Dessert

In Calabria, maccaruni d’a zita was always served at wedding luncheons. Today, this pasta is more popularly called penne Zita, which can be used for this Penne alla Calabrese recipe. The differences between regular penne and penne Zita is that the latter has a smoother surface and is slightly bigger in diameter.

penne alla calabrese

According to tradition, in the place of honor sat “a donna” (the bride) and “lu patriu” (the parents of the bride) while to the bride’s right sat the best man. And at the reception, wine bottled the same year as the bride birth year was served. The luncheon lasts until the evening, with the throwing of “confetti” up in the air, with music from the “organetto”. In Italy, “confetti” are almonds with a hard sugar coating. This tradition was still alive in the 1950s.

Other penne pasta recipes:

For a more creamy result, add a bit of bechamel sauce (besciamella).

penne alla calabrese

Penne alla Calabrese

This recipe is a traditional from the Calabria region of Italy. It’s made with fresh and tasty ingredients.
4.36 from 17 votes
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Course: Pasta
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Calories: 2040kcal


  • 400 g Penne
  • 2 Anchovies
  • 100 g Black olives
  • 100 g Green olives
  • 30 g salted capers
  • 150 g Tuna
  • 500 g Tomato sauce
  • Oregano as needed
  • Pecorino cheese as needed
  • Salt as needed
  • Pepper as needed


  • In a pan, put 3 tablespoons of oil and 1 clove of crushed garlic and quickly melt the 2 anchovies (if you wish, you can add a few pieces of red pepper).
  • Chop the pitted olives, capers and tuna, and pour them in the pan.
  • After a few minutes, add the tomato pasta, salt and a pinch of oregano and pepper. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, boil the penne in salted water, then drain and dress it with the already prepared sauce.
Calories: 2040kcal | Carbohydrates: 334g | Protein: 92g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 6965mg | Potassium: 2899mg | Fiber: 27g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 3035IU | Vitamin C: 36.3mg | Calcium: 302mg | Iron: 14.5mg
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Buon appetito!

2 Responses to “Penne alla Calabrese”

  1. Antonette Sheedy says:

    Absolutely loved it. A favorite go to.
    Thank you

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