Pasta

Penne Pomodoro (Tomato Basil Pasta)

January 12, 2020 by Emily

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This Penne Pomodoro is a simple tomato pasta recipe made with an easy, flavour-packed tomato sauce and fresh basil leaves. This recipe comes together in just 10 minutes making it perfect for busy weeknights or when you’re short on time.

An overhead shot of tomato pasta in a bowl with basil

This recipe is so easy to make, the sauce is made from start to finish as the pasta is boiling and it is so DELICIOUS!

I mean, I dunno about you but I love quick and easy dinners that I can whip up in no time especially a big comforting bowl of pasta but the flavour has to be there!

I’ve always been a big believer that the simplest recipes are always best as long as you use good quality ingredients.

That’s why I love this Penne al Pomodoro recipe. It’s made with penne pasta coated in the simplest tomato sauce and not only is it super quick and easy but all of the ingredients are simple, pantry staples perfect for any budget!

Ingredients – What You Need

  • Olive oil – used to saute the herbs and garlic.
  • Garlic – must be fresh for this recipe, finely chopped.
  • Tomatoes – I use smooth passata aka sieved tomatoes or pureed tomatoes. The brand I recommend is Cirio, it’s so rich in flavour and makes the best pasta sauce. This brand is fairly easy to find in the US and Europe but if you can’t find it then you can order online or just use a quality brand you trust. (This is not a sponsored post in any way I just genuinely love and always use this brand).
  • Tomato paste – This adds richness and depth to the tomato flavour (again I use Cirio).
  • Fresh herbs – I use fresh basil, parsley and dried oregano (just a small amount of each).

Can I Use Fresh Tomatoes?

Absolutely, you can use fresh tomatoes when they’re in season. 

I recommend using plum or roma tomatoes, blanched, skins and seeds removed.

The reason I love using passata or pureed tomatoes is because you can keep your pantry stocked with it and can make this tomato pasta all year round!

How to Make Penne Pomodoro – Step By Step

Put the oil, fresh & dried herbs and garlic in a skillet (frying pan) and saute the garlic until fragrant (photo 1).

Add the pureed tomatoes and tomato pasta and stir to combine. Gently simmer the sauce until the penne pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes (photo 2).

Step by step photos showing how to make penne pomodoro

Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain the rest and add the pasta to the sauce (photo 3).

Toss or stir the pasta to coat in the sauce, add a little splash of reserved pasta water to help emulsify the sauce. When coated add in some fresh chopped basil and stir, serve (photo 4).

Serving Suggestions

Serve this tomato pasta with a nice fresh side salad such as this  Zucchini Ribbon Salad.

You could also serve it with Homemade Rosemary Focaccia or some crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce.

Variations and How to Adapt this Recipe

There are so many ways to adapt this recipe from adding veggies, meat or even bubbling cheese. Here are some delicious ideas;

  • Add some pancetta in with the garlic and herbs.
  • Fresh red chilli would be so delicious and would add a nice spicy kick.
  • Switch the herbs for any fresh herbs you like
  • Add in any fresh veggies you like just saute them at the very beginning. Bell peppers, zucchini or eggplant would all work really well!
  • Add the pasta to a baking dish and top with mozzarella or your fav melting cheese and put it under the broiler (grill) until melted and bubbling.

A side shot of penne pomodoro in a rustic bowl

Top Tips for Making Penne Pomodoro

  • Make sure to salt the pasta water generously.
  • As soon as the water comes to a boil add the pasta and start cooking the sauce.
  • Make sure to reserve 1 cup of pasta water, you won’t need it all but a splash or two will help emulsify the sauce adding even more flavour.
  • Use high-quality tomatoes for this recipe. I recommend Cirio and use them for every recipe that uses canned or jarred tomatoes. A cheap brand will likely be too watery and acidic and won’t give you a great sauce.
  • Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the sauce before adding the pasta.
  • If you don’t have penne pasta then any pasta shape will do from rigatoni to spaghetti.
  • You can make the sauce in advance to make the meal even quicker when you’re ready to eat.
  • You can also make a double or triple or even more of the sauce and freeze it for later.

More Easy and Delicious Pasta Recipes You Might Like;

If you’ve tried this Penne Pomodoro or any other recipe on the blog please let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.

Step By Step Photos AboveMost of our recipes come with step by step photos, helpful tips and tricks to make it perfectly first time and even video!
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5 from 5 votes

Penne Pomodoro

This Penne Pomodoro is the simplest tomato pasta recipe made with an easy, flavour-packed tomato sauce and fresh basil leaves. This recipe comes together in just 10 minutes making it perfect for busy weeknights or when you're short on time.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 410kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • penne pasta (400g)
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • pureed tomatoes passata (350g)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Freshly grated parmesan for garnish if desired

Instructions

  • Put the oil, fresh & dried herbs and garlic in a skillet (frying pan) and saute the garlic until fragrant.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes and tomato pasta and stir to combine. Gently simmer the sauce until the penne pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes.
  • Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain the rest and add the pasta to the sauce.
  • Toss or stir the pasta to coat in the sauce, add a little splash of reserved pasta water to help emulsify the sauce. When coated add in some fresh chopped basil and stir, serve.

Notes

  • Make sure to salt the pasta water generously.
  • As soon as the water comes to a boil add the pasta and start cooking the sauce.
  • Make sure to reserve 1 cup of pasta water, you won't need it all but a splash or two will help emulsify the sauce adding even more flavour.
  • Use high-quality tomatoes for this recipe. I recommend Cirio and use them for every recipe that uses canned or jarred tomatoes. A cheap brand will likely be too watery and acidic and won't give you a great sauce.
  • Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the sauce before adding the pasta.
  • If you don't have penne pasta then any pasta shape will do from rigatoni to spaghetti.
  • You can make the sauce in advance to make the meal even quicker when you're ready to eat.
  • You can also make a double or triple or even more of the sauce and freeze it for later.

Nutrition

Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 63mg | Potassium: 648mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 618IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 3mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We'd love you see what you're getting up to in the kitchen!

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Alisha Rodrigues
    January 12, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    I love pastas which are loaded with simple ingredients and are quick to make. This one is going to tried for sure during this week5 stars

  • Reply
    Jen
    January 12, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Pasta is always a winning dish in our house for dinner. Love that this sauce comes together so easily and feels lighter than traditional sauces we tend to use. Delicious!5 stars

  • Reply
    Erika
    January 12, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    This is one of my all time favorite pastas, so delicious!5 stars

  • Reply
    Andrea Metlika
    January 12, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    This is such a quick,, easy and delicious pasta dish.5 stars

  • Reply
    Peter
    January 12, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    There is nothing more classic than a delicious penne pomodoro. You had me at quick and easy with this recipe. The fact that you can make your sauce in the time it takes for your pasta to boil just makes this a perfect weeknight dinner. LOVE that you KNOW to reserve the pasta water 🙂 That’s what shows me that you know your stuff.

    And finally, beautiful photos of course. But that very first photo. Ahh, kisses fingers. Perfect.5 stars

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