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White bowl with penne pasta, tomato sauce, and basil with tomatoes in the background.

Penne Pomodoro

Penne Pomodoro is a classic Italian dish that can be served as a main dish or a side dish and compliments just about any Italian dinner. The pomodoro sauce is made from scratch in under a half hours time.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Diet Low Lactose
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 295kcal
Author Katie


  • Stove Top
  • Collander


  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 28 ounces Whole Tomatoes in Juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound Penne Pasta
  • ¼ cup Fresh Basil torn


  • Pour the olive oil in a deep skillet. Then add in the diced onion and cook on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly to ensure the onions do not burn. Add the garlic and stir for one minute.
  • Using your hands or a meat chopper, break the whole tomatoes making sure to not crush them finely but leave large chunks of tomatoes. Pour the tomatoes and their juices into the saucepan with the onion and garlic, and bring to a simmer. Simmer with a lid on, but stirring often, until the tomato juices have thickened and the sauce has reduced slightly, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • While the sauce simmers, boil and cook the penne pasta according to package. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water for the sauce, strain, rinse pasta noodles, and set to the side.
  • Remove the tomato sauce off the heat. Tear in the fresh basil. Let it sit for 5 minutes in the sauce with the lid on and then mix in.
  • Mix half the sauce plus ¼ cup of the pasta water in with the pasta. Mix until coated. Continue this process until all the pomodoro sauce has been used. *You will not need the entire cup of pasta water.


  • Pasta Water - I like to reserve 1 cup of pasta water that I will mix into the cooked pasta and sauce to thin out the sauce. You do not need to use the entire 1 cup. I reserve that much just in case I need it. If you like thick sauce then skip this step.
  • Pasta - Any pasta will work with the pomodoro sauce. I just prefer to use penne.
  • Freezing the Sauce - You can skip the step of making the penne pasta and instead you can freeze the sauce in a freezer safe container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 146mg | Potassium: 341mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 156IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg