Penne al pomodoro

The most classic of the Italian pasta dishes, so simple that even children can prepare it,
but so aromatic and tasty that it is a triumph of Mediterranean flavours.


Penne (or another pasta shape)     1 kg
Canned tomatoes     600 g
White onion     70 g
Evo oil     50 g
Basil leaves     5 g
Garlic (optional)      3 g
Table salt     to taste
Black pepper     to taste
Sugar     1 g


Food mill

Follow These 4 Steps to Start

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Fry the julienne-cut onion in Evo oil (and add an unpeeled clove of garlic if you wish).

Add a few leaves of fresh basil followed immediately by the canned tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and just a pinch of sugar. If necessary, rinse the jar or tin of the tomatoes with a little water and pour the contents into the boiling sauce.

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Cook for about 20 minutes, then pass the sauce through a food mill. Add some julienne of fresh basil leaves for aroma.

Cook the pasta in abundant salted water. Drain the pasta when it is still al dente and toss in the pan with the tomato sauce. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve, garnished with a basil leaf.

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The cook’s secret

Tomato sauce is a basic sauce because it serves as the foundation for the preparation of other sauces, with the addition of complementary ingredients. It can be made with fresh or dried tomatoes, tomatoes in oil or frozen; whole, diced or julienne-cut, barely cooked or long slow conservation techniques. Other variations on tomato sauce include:

  • fresh tomato sauce: prepared in exactly the same way as with canned tomatoes. Mature tomatoes are cut into pieces, cooked and then passed through a food mill. The flavour is more delicate and the colour less intensely red. Fresh tomato sauce is made mainly in the summer.
  • diced tomato sauce: fresh tomatoes are blanched, peeled and seeded. Then the pulp is diced and sautéed for just a few minutes in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, an unpeeled clove of garlic (removed before serving) and perfumed with fresh basil. It is a quick fresh sauce to prepare.
  • raw tomato sauce: same procedure as for diced tomato sauce. The tomatoes are marinated with oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. The uncooked sauce is used to dress the pasta. Light and fresh, this sauce is excellent in the summer.
  • hot tomato sauce: this hot refers to the presence of abundant red chili peppers, with chopped garlic and parsley, rather than the actual temperature of the sauce, like the anger [arrabbiato] the name suggests.

How Much Do You Know…?

To serve a fine dish of pasta, you must: