This is the best penne pomodoro recipe! This quick and easy dinner is perfect for busy weeknights and it has so much flavor that you won’t believe it’s ready in 30 minutes. This sauce uses high quality ingredients and lets the classic Italian flavors shine in the best way.
If you love pasta as much as we do, be sure to try my orecchiette with sausage, bucatini cacio e pepe, or scallop linguine next time. Like this dish, they are all made with simple ingredients that let the true flavors shine.
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Table of Contents
- What is Penne Pomodoro?
- What You’ll Love About Penne Pomodoro Pasta
- How to Make Penne Pomodoro Recipe
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Storage Instructions
- How to Serve Penne Pomodoro to the Whole Family
- What to Serve with Penne Pomodoro Recipe
- More Easy Pasta Recipes
- Helpful Tools to Make Penne Pomodoro Recipe
What is Penne Pomodoro?
What You’ll Love About Penne Pomodoro Pasta
- Simple simple tomato sauce that’s totally delicious
- Classic Italian flavors
- Easy enough to make for a busy weeknight dinner
- Made with just 5 simple ingredients (plus Parmesan!)
- Just 5 minutes prep time
- Just 25 minutes total cook time
This simple pomodoro sauce is made with just a handful of ingredients, so buy the best quality you can. Each ingredient shines!
- Garlic – Fresh garlic is a must, remember each ingredient shines!
- Canned tomatoes – I recommend using San Marzano tomatoes or another high-quality Italian tomato. Look for peeled, whole tomatoes.
- Olive oil – Again, use high quality olive oil.
- Basil – Use fresh basil leaves. You can remove it from the pan after you let the sauce simmer.
- Sea salt – Be sure to salt both the sauce AND the pasta water.
- Penne – Technically you can use many different types of pasta, but since this is a penne al pomodoro recipe, penne noodles is the way to go.
- Parmesan cheese – I recommend serving the pasta with freshly grated Parmesan…obviously?!
How to Make Penne Pomodoro Recipe
Let’s get to this easy pasta recipe! Here’s how we’ll make it:
- Blend sauce. Blend tomatoes and tomato juices along with garlic cloves in a blender or food processor. You will probably have to do this in batches.
TIP: This is slightly different than many pomodoro recipes, that cook tomatoes and garlic FIRST, then blend. I think it’s easier to blend before cooking so you don’t need to let the sauce cool enough to safely blend. You could however, cook the garlic and tomatoes and then use an immersion blender to blend everything together until smooth.
- Cook sauce. Heat olive oil in dutch oven over medium heat and pour in blended tomato mixture. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer. Season with fresh basil and sea salt and cook for at least 20 minutes.
TIP: Reserve 2 cups of the pomodoro sauce before you add pasta to sauce mixture.
- Boil water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt boiling water and pour in penne. Cook until al dente (according to package instructions), reserve a cup of the pasta water, and drain pasta.
- Sauce pasta. Add pasta into sauce mixture and toss to coat. Add in more pomodoro sauce if desired.
- Serve penne pasta. Serve pasta with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and fresh basil.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the meaning of pomodoro sauce?
Pomodoro, by definition is “tomato” in Italian. “Pomodoro is an Italian food typically prepared with pasta, olive oil, fresh tomatoes, basil, and various other fresh ingredients. It is intended to be a quick and light dish, rather than a dish in a heavy sauce.” – source
What’s the difference between pomodoro and arrabiata?
Pomodoro is a very simple pasta sauce (see ingredients above) and arrabiata is a spicier dish that is also a simple tomato sauce, but also includes red pepper flakes, giving it some spice.
How many calories in penne pomodoro?
The calories in penne pomodoro will vary based on specific recipe, ingredients, and serving size. This specific recipe has an estimated 579 calories per serving.
Is penne pomodoro vegetarian?
Yes, penne pomodoro is vegetarian and totally vegan – just be sure to skip the cheese. 🙂
Store leftover pasta in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
How to reheat
Reheat pasta in a skillet (covered) over medium-low heat until hot or reheat in the microwave.
How to Serve Penne Pomodoro to the Whole Family
I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in. 😉
Many kids love pasta, but if your kids are still learning to like red sauce, you could leave some pasta plain for them instead of tossing it all with the sauce.
PRO TIP: Give your kids a “sample spoon” with just a tiny bit of sauce to try it out if they are up for it.
This specific recipe calls for penne pasta, but you can also use any type of pasta depending on what your family prefers.
What to Serve with Penne Pomodoro Recipe
In my opinion, all delicious pasta recipes need is a side of salad! Try one of these salads:
More Easy Pasta Recipes
If you like this pasta al pomodoro recipe, you might also like some of these easy pasta recipes:
- Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli
- Udon Stir Fry Noodles with Vegetables
- Scallop Linguine
- Bucatini Cacio e Pepe
- Lasagna Stuffed Shells
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Helpful Tools to Make Penne Pomodoro Recipe
- Microplane Zester – The best way to grate fresh Parmesan cheese, but I also use it for garlic in this lemon kale salad.
- Blender – Mostly used for smoothies, but works well for sauces as well.
- Dutch Oven – Use this dutch oven for the sauce, as well as soups like Mexican lentil soup, tortellini soup with sausage, and easy minestrone soup.
This simple penne pomodoro recipe is made with just 5 basic ingredients and is an easy dinner that you won’t believe is ready in 30 minutes.
- Blend garlic and tomatoes (with their juices) until smooth in a blender or food processor. (You may need to do this in batches.)
- Heat olive oil in a large sauce pot or dutch oven over medium heat and carefully pour in blended tomato garlic mixture.
- Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Add basil and sea salt to sauce and let simmer for at least 20 minutes. Remove about 2 cups of sauce to set aside before tossing with pasta.
- Meanwhile cook penne pasta according to package instructions.
- Drain and add to pomodoro sauce. Toss to coat pasta and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- Calories are an estimate and do not include Parmesan cheese.
Keywords: penne pomodoro recipe
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Photo Credit: All photos in this post were take by Loren at Sweet Rustic Bakes