Penne Pomodoro (Tomato Basil Pasta)

This Penne Pomodoro you will make again and again. It’s savory and a tiny bit sweet. The combination of the tomatoey sauce and the freshness of the basil is a perfect quick and easy meal for any night of the week.

penne-pomodoro-with-ricotta-cheese

I’ve made this a few times when inviting friends over for dinner parties. They raved about it. But it wasn’t until now that I decided to share my recipe.

There are a few things I do differently than the typical pomodoro sauces out there. For one, I add a dash of nutmeg. Why? Because I’ll be honest, I’m a bit obsessed with nutmeg. But don’t worry, it’s not overwhelming. And if you really aren’t into it, go ahead and leave it out.

I also swap out the onion for shallots and grind both the garlic and shallot in a mini Cuisinart. If you don’t have one of these magic little machines, I highly recommend you get one. I have a Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini-Prep Plus.

I bought a mini food processor 15 years ago and have had the same one ever sense. I make and chop everything in it. From pesto, to Chimichurri sauce, to chopping garlic, etc. They’re great for when you need a food processor but when you won’t have enough to fill up the container to where it will hit the blade. Last time I checked you could get one for less than $40!

What is the difference between pomodoro and marinara?

This is a great question. And probably one most home chefs have asked at one point or another. It all really comes down to the consistency of the tomato sauce.

Penne pomodoro is typically thicker than marinara sauce, while marinara sauce tends to be a bit more liquidy and chunky.

Do you need fresh tomatoes to make pomodoro sauce?

The answer to this is you do not! This is partially why I love making this penne pomodoro recipe. Typically, pomodoro recipes call for crushed tomatoes. But also usually canned tomatoes.

With that said. Typically, pomodoro tomato sauce is made with fresh tomatoes. But if the season makes that difficult, it is totally ok to use canned tomatoes.

If you do what to use fresh tomatoes. It’s fine to use whatever you have on-hand or is easily accessible. These include: Plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or San Marzano tomatoes. If you’re unclear on your choices, here is a great article on the different types of tomatoes

penne-pomodoro-sauce

Let’s Make Penne Pomodoro

Ingredients For Penne Pomodoro

  • ⅓ cup Olive oil
  • ½ cup Basil about 1oz
  • 28 oz Pureed tomatoes
  • 28 oz Chef’s cut or diced tomatoes
  • 5-6 Garlic cloves Grated
  • 2 Large shallots Grated
  • 2-4 tsp Granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Freshly-ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Dried basil
  • ½ cup Fresh basil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper

For Lemon-Basil Ricotta

  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1½ cups Ricotta
  • ¼ cup Fresh basil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions for Penne Pomodoro

Grind garlic in your mini Cuisinart. If you don’t have a Cuisinart, you can dice your garlic finely. Then, grind shallots. Again, If you don’t have a Cuisinart, dice your shallots finely. 

Finely chop your basil leaves.

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven on low-medium heat. Sauté garlic and shallots for 5 minutes with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper until golden brown.

Add in tomato puree and diced tomatoes. Simmer on low for 20 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to package instructions.

Add sugar, nutmeg, dried basil, salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Taste and adjust with additional salt, pepper, and sugar. Add in fresh basil and stir. Remove from heat.

You can either add your penne pomodoro sauce to the top of your cooked pasta if plating individually or mix it into a larger pot of pasta and serve family style. Enjoy!

Plating Your Penne Pomodoro

Plate your pasta, add a dollop of your ricotta and enjoy. Pro-eating tip: Mix your ricotta into your pasta for the creamiest version of heaven you’ve ever experienced!
If you’re not a fan of ricotta, or just don’t have the extra few minutes, you can top your cooked pasta with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, or sprinkle with some parmesan cheese.
penne-pomodoro-close-up
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Penne Pomodoro

Penne pomodoro to make again and again. Savory and the tiny bit sweet. You'll make this recipe again and again.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Easy Pasta, Penne al Pomodoro, penne pomodoro, penne pomodoro recipe
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 432kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

For Penne Pomodoro

  • cup Olive oil
  • ½ cup Basil about 1oz
  • 28 oz Pureed tomatoes
  • 28 oz Chef's cut or diced tomatoes
  • 5-6 Garlic cloves Grated
  • 2 Large shallots Grated
  • 2-4 tsp Granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Freshly-ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Dried basil
  • ½ cup Fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper

For Lemon-Basil Ricotta

  • Zest of one lemon
  • cups Ricotta
  • ¼ cup Fresh basil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

For Penne Pomodoro

  • Grind garlic in your mini Cuisinart. If you don't have a Cuisinart, you can dice your garlic finely.
  • Grind shallots in your mini Cuisinart. Again, If you don't have a Cuisinart, dice your shallots finely.
  • Heat olive oil in a dutch oven on low-medium heat. Sauté garlic and shallots for 5 minutes with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper until golden brown.
  • Add in tomato puree and diced tomatoes. Simmer on low for 20 minutes.
  • While sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • Add sugar, nutmeg, dried basil, salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer 10 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust with additional salt, pepper, and sugar. Add in fresh basil and stir. Remove from heat.
  • You can either add your penne pomodoro sauce to the top of your pasta if plating individually or mix it into a larger pot of pasta and serve family style. Enjoy!

For Lemon-Basil Ricotta

  • Remove ricotta from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. It will be easier to mix in your ingredients this way.
  • Zest your lemon.
  • Chop your basil.
  • Fold in lemon zest and fresh basil into your ricotta.
  • Add a pinch of salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper.

Plating Penne Pomodoro

  • Plate your pasta, add a dollop of your ricotta and enjoy. Pro tip: Encourage your eaters (or just yourself!) to mix their ricotta into their pasta for a creamy pasta treat!

Notes

Attention to all my gluten-free friends! There are so many incredible gluten-free pasta options out there. My go-to when cooking for friends and family that are gluten-sensitive are the following:
Barilla Gluten Free Pasta
Jovial Gluten Free Pasta, and 
Ronzoni Gluten Free Pasta
If you're not a fan of ricotta, or just don't have the extra few minutes, you can top your cooked pasta with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, or sprinkle with some parmesan cheese.

Nutrition

Serving: 4oz | Calories: 432kcal | Carbohydrates: 65.1g | Protein: 14.5g | Fat: 12g | Sodium: 300mg | Fiber: 3.2g | Sugar: 6.3g

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penne-pomodoro-pinterest-pin

Have questions or suggestions? Leave them in the comments below. Until next time: Stay salty, and sweet 😉

One Response

  1. Sylvia May 29, 2022 Reply

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