This Penne Pomodoro is a classic Italian pasta dish featuring a delicious, flavor-packed red tomato sauce with hints of basil and garlic. This easy pasta recipe is quick and easy to make, and you can have it ready at the dinner table in under 30 minutes!
If you’ve been looking for a pasta dish that’ll give you classic flavors without all the fuss, then this penne Pomodoro (tomato basil pasta) is perfect for you. It’s one of my go-to pasta recipes for busy weeknights or when I’m short on time.
There’s just nothing like flavor-packed, quick, and easy dinners. I love having a collection of recipes available that can be easily customized to please even the pickiest of eaters in the family! This comforting bowl of pasta checks all the boxes.
This penne al Pomodoro recipe is incredibly easy and features the simplest tomato sauce that packs a punch. All you need are some simple pantry staples to easily make it at home. And if you love this one, you’ll love my vegan red pepper pasta or lentil pasta.
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious penne pomodoro recipe today!
- What is Penne Pomodoro?
- Why This Is The Best Penne Pomodoro Recipe
- What You Need to Make Penne Pomodoro At Home
- How to Make Penne Pomodoro Step by Step
- Tips For Making the Best Penne Pomodoro
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Variation Ideas for Penne Pomodoro
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Store Leftover Penne Pomodoro
- Also Try These East Pasta Recipes
What is Penne Pomodoro?
Penne Pomodoro is a classic Italian pasta recipe that's loved for its simplicity and flavor. The dish primarily consists of penne pasta that's tossed in a rich and savory pomodoro sauce.
The Pomodoro sauce, a staple in Italian cuisine, is made from ingredients like fresh tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil, creating a delicious blend of flavors.
This recipe is incredibly quick and easy to make. The use of whole, peeled tomatoes gives the sauce a deeper, more complex flavor compared to regular canned tomato sauce.
Plus, the addition of red pepper flakes makes this dish even more flavorful. Whether you're cooking for yourself or for a group of people, this dish is a delicious choice that's bound to be a hit.
Why This Is The Best Penne Pomodoro Recipe
- Easy to make: This Penne Pomodoro recipe is a cinch to prepare with straightforward instructions. All you need to do is boil the pasta, simmer the tomato sauce, and combine them together.
- Quick: With a total cooking time of just around 20 minutes, this recipe is perfect for those busy weeknights when you need a hearty meal on the table fast. The pasta cooks while you're making the sauce, which means everything is ready at about the same time.
- Family Favorite: The blend of garlic, red pepper flakes, and fresh basil leaves in the tomato sauce creates a flavor that kids and adults alike will love. Plus, it is a dish that's easy enough for the kids to help with, making it a great family cooking activity.
- Adaptable: This recipe is extremely adaptable. Feel free to add other vegetables, switch up the herbs, or even add a protein of your choice. Whether you prefer it spicy or mild, chunky or smooth, this pasta recipe can be tailored to fit your taste preferences.
- Tasty Leftovers: This pasta dish is just as delicious the next day, making it perfect for meal prep or for those days when you're too busy to cook. Simply reheat the leftovers and enjoy a quick, satisfying meal.
What You Need to Make Penne Pomodoro At Home
All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious penne pomodoro recipe at home.
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- Penne Pasta: This hearty pasta holds up well to the robust pomodoro sauce. Its ridged surface and hollow center are perfect for catching and delivering a mouthful of flavor with every bite.
- Whole Peeled Tomatoes: These are the base of the pomodoro sauce. Canned whole peeled tomatoes are a convenient choice, but make sure that they don't contain any animal-derived additives if you're making a vegan version.
- Garlic Cloves: Garlic adds a depth of flavor that compliments the tomatoes beautifully. For an added twist, try sautéing the garlic in vegan butter instead of olive oil.
- Red Pepper Flakes: These add a bit of heat to the sauce. Feel free to adjust the amount according to your preferred level of spiciness.
- Fresh Basil Leaves: Fresh basil infuses the sauce with a vibrant and fresh taste. If you don't have fresh basil, dried basil can be used as a substitute.
- Olive Oil: This is used to sauté the garlic and pepper flakes, adding a rich, fruity flavor to the sauce.
- Salt and Pepper: These are essential for seasoning the sauce. Adjust according to your taste.
How to Make Penne Pomodoro Step by Step
Making this incredible penne pomodoro recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
- Cook the penne pasta according to the package instructions until it is al dente. Once done, drain and set it aside for later use.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic emits a fragrant aroma and turns slightly golden.
- Add the whole peeled tomatoes (you can use either Roma tomatoes or San Marzano tomatoes) to the skillet along with their juices. Stir well to blend the ingredients together.
- Simmer the tomato sauce on medium-low heat for about 10–1 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly. Add salt and pepper to enhance the flavor according to your preference.
- Add chopped fresh basil leaves to the tomato sauce for an extra layer of flavor. Then, add the cooked penne pasta to the skillet and stir it in the tomato sauce until well coated. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to allow the flavors to blend together.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and give the pasta a final toss to make sure that it is evenly covered in the delicious pomodoro sauce.
- Serve the Penne Pomodoro in bowls or plates. For an added touch, garnish with additional fresh basil leaves or sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Enjoy your homemade Penne al Pomodoro recipe! Don't worry if there are leftovers; they will taste even better the next day.
Tips For Making the Best Penne Pomodoro
- Use Whole Peeled Tomatoes: For the best flavor, use canned whole peeled tomatoes in your pasta recipe. They bring a rich, full-flavored tomato sauce that beats out any store-bought marinara sauce.
- Simmer the Sauce: Let the tomato sauce simmer on medium heat for about 10–15 minutes. This will allow the flavors to blend together and the sauce to thicken, enhancing the overall flavor of your pasta pomodoro recipe.
- Use Fresh Basil Leaves: Fresh basil leaves add a vibrant taste to the dish. If you don't have fresh basil, you can substitute with dried basil, but fresh basil will give a more authentic flavor.
- Adjust the Spice: Feel free to adjust the amount of red pepper flakes according to your preferred level of spiciness. This pasta recipe is versatile and can be adapted to your taste.
- Elevate your Penne Pomodoro by adding some grilled chicken or sautéed shrimp. The extra protein not only makes the meal more filling but also adds a delicious contrast to the tangy pomodoro sauce.
- If you're a cheese lover, feel free to sprinkle a generous amount of parmesan cheese on your Penne Pomodoro. The cheese melts slightly when sprinkled over the hot pasta, creating a creamy and irresistible topping.
- Want to add a touch of freshness to your Penne Pomodoro? Serve it with a side of mixed green salad. The crisp, cool greens make a wonderful contrast to the warm, hearty pasta.
- For a vegetarian twist, add some pan-roasted vegetables to your Penne Pomodoro. Zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant would also be delicious additions.
- Penne Pomodoro can also make a great base for a pasta bake. Simply transfer the cooked pasta and sauce to a baking dish, top with mozzarella cheese, and bake until bubbly and golden.
- If you're looking for a side dish to serve with your Penne Pomodoro, consider some blue cheese bread. The bread helps to soak up any leftover sauce, guaranteeing that none of the delicious flavors go to waste.
Recipe Variation Ideas for Penne Pomodoro
This delicious penne pomodoro recipe is so flavorful and easy to make you'll want to try out some of these delicious variations! Here are some great ideas:
- Smoother: If you prefer your sauce without chunks, this variation is for you. Use an immersion blender or transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until you reach your desired consistency before adding the cooked pasta. This will give you a smooth and velvety pomodoro sauce.
- Sweeten: If you like a touch of sweetness in your tomato sauce, try adding a teaspoon of maple syrup or agave nectar while simmering the sauce. This will balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and add a unique twist to your pasta dish.
- Heartier: If you're looking for a more filling meal, this variation is a must-try. Add some cooked vegan protein such as tofu, tempeh, or vegan meatballs to the sauce. This will give your Penne Pomodoro extra protein and make it a more substantial meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely, you can use fresh tomatoes for this penne pomodoro recipe. Roma tomatoes or San Marzano tomatoes would work well. Just make sure to blanch, peel and seed them before using. The flavor might be slightly different, but still delicious.
If you don't have fresh basil on hand, you can substitute with dried basil. Start with 1 teaspoon of dried basil and adjust to taste. Remember, dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor than fresh herbs.
If you prefer a smoother pomodoro sauce, you can use an immersion blender or transfer the sauce to a stand blender. Blend until you reach your desired consistency, then return to the pan and add the cooked pasta.
Definitely! Feel free to add sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, or even some cooked vegan proteins like tofu or tempeh. It is a versatile recipe that can be adjusted to suit your preferences.
Yes, you can. Although penne pasta is used in this recipe, you can substitute it with any pasta of your preference. Just make sure to cook it al dente according to the package instructions.
How to Store Leftover Penne Pomodoro
Refrigerate: Let your penne pomodoro cool to room temperature. Then, transfer your leftovers into an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reheat: When you're ready to enjoy your penne pomodoro again, reheat it gently on the stovetop over medium heat. Add a splash of pasta water or vegetable broth to revive the sauce if needed. You can also reheat your pasta in the microwave. Just remember to stir it halfway through the cooking time to distribute the heat evenly.
Freeze: If you want to freeze your leftovers, keep in mind that while the tomato sauce freezes well, the penne pasta might lose its al dente texture upon thawing and reheating. I recommend only freezing the sauce and then cooking the pasta fresh. The sauce can be frozen for up to 1 month.
Also Try These East Pasta Recipes
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Easy Penne Pomodoro (Ready in Under 30 Minutes!)
- 6 oz penne pasta
- 1 can (14 oz) whole peeled tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic finely sliced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes adjust to taste
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the penne pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant and slightly golden.
- Add whole peeled tomatoes to the skillet along with their juices. Stir well to combine.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and let the tomato sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add chopped basil leaves and then add the cooked penne pasta to the skillet and toss it in the tomato sauce until well coated. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Remove the skillet from heat and give it a final toss.
- Serve the Penne Pomodoro in bowls or plates. You can garnish with additional fresh basil leaves or parmesan cheese.
Iryna Bychkiv is the founder and writer of the culinary website Lavender & Macarons, where she shares clean, European-inspired recipes that are delicious, easy to prepare, and made with wholesome ingredients. Iryna loves creating meals that are simple yet healthy and unique, including vegan and vegetarian recipes.
Iryna is also a freelance writer for MSN and Associated Press Wire.