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Tomato Basil Pasta is a quick and easy recipe made with tender penne pasta and juicy grape tomatoes. Perfect for lunch or dinner and ready in just 20 minutes, it’s a delicious meal that the whole family will love.
Penne pasta is my favorite pasta to cook with. It’s hearty, it’s rustic and there is no twirling required. It hold it’s own against some pretty delicious sauces, like this creamy garlic sauce, and it’s amazing in this Tomato Basil Pasta recipe. It’s also easy to pick up out of the pot with your fingers if that’s how you like to do things. No judgement here.
The best, and my personal favorite, penne pasta recipe is this Tomato Basil Penne Pasta. There is no cream or butter, so you can feel good about eating the whole pan. I mean, about eating your portion. It’s super fresh, with a whole pint of sweet tomatoes and loads of fresh basil and garlic. Let’s get cooking, shall we?
This pasta recipe starts as most good pasta recipes do – cooking the pasta just right! Bring some water to a boil, then salt it generously. I usually toss in a few good pinches. Measure out about 3 cups of the dry pasta. This doesn’t have to be an exact science, so a little more or a little less won’t hurt. You don’t want the pasta to be cooked all the way, so set your timer for a couple of minutes less than the package calls for. It will finish cooking in the sauce you’re about the make.
Once the pasta is boiling, start on the sauce. Heat some olive oil and saute diced onions and garlic and a little red pepper flakes for heat. Next add the grape tomatoes that have been sliced in half and a handful of chopped basil. The tomatoes will release juices to help create the sauce. After a minute or two the tomatoes will start to blister; at this point you’ll add a ladle-ful of the pasta water straight outta the pot (that’s about 3/4-1 cup of pasta water). The starch that’s released from the pasta as it cooks will help to thicken the tomato basil sauce.
Boil the sauce for a minute or two, then add the pasta. If you time it just right, the pasta will be about ¾ of the way done at this point, but if the pasta is ready sooner, just drain it and set it aside until you’re ready to add it; shouldn’t be more that a couple of minutes.
Once the pasta is added you’ll just continue to let the tomato basil pasta simmer over medium-low heat. The pasta will finish cooking and become nice and tender, with a delicious tomato basil flavor. The tomatoes combined with the garlic, onion and the pasta water will have created a yummy sauce that’s smooth and luxurious and thick enough to coat the penne pasta. The finishing touch is a bit of Parmesan cheese that you can stir in, or just garnish the top with. Make sure to test the seasonings and add more salt and pepper if you like.