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Easy Penne Pomodoro Recipe

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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.

Bowl of homemade penne pomodoro with basil and parmesan.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

What is Penne Pomodoro?

Pomodoro is a very simple sauce made with olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, and sea salt.

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
Bowl of penne pomodoro.

Ingredients

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?!
Ingredients to make penne pomodoro.

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.
Peeled tomatoes and garlic in blender.

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.
Pomodoro sauce cooking in saucepan.

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.
Tossing pomodoro with penne pasta.
  • 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. 🙂

Bowl of penne pomodoro.

Storage Instructions

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.

All of my articles on feeding kids can be found here and if you want a FULL list of all of the videos I have with hacks, tips, scripts, and ideas for feeding kids, check out my instagram or tiktok page.

Bowl of penne pomodoro with basil and Parmesan cheese.

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:

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Helpful Tools to Make Penne Pomodoro Recipe

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Bowl of homemade penne pomodoro with basil and parmesan.

Easy Penne Pomodoro Recipe

  • Author: Emily Dingmann of myeverydaytable.com
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian
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Description

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.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 228 oz. can peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 oz. fresh basil (about 1/2 cup leaves)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 16 oz. penne
  • Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions

  1. Blend garlic and tomatoes (with their juices) until smooth in a blender or food processor. (You may need to do this in batches.)
  2. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pot or dutch oven over medium heat and carefully pour in blended tomato garlic mixture. 
  3. 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.
  4. Meanwhile cook penne pasta according to package instructions.
  5. Drain and add to pomodoro sauce. Toss to coat pasta and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. 


Notes

  • 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

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