20 Minute Penne Pomodoro

5 from 2 reviews

This 20-minute penne Pomodoro is a family favorite comfort food that's easy enough for a weeknight, but elegant enough for date night! It's made with whole canned tomatoes, fresh herbs, and penne pasta for a simple, hearty vegetarian dish that everyone will love! 


  • 16 oz. penne pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for tossing with pasta
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 (28 oz.) can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar, optional
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper


  • burrata cheese
  • fresh chopped parsley
  • fresh julienne cut basil
  • capers
  • red pepper flakes


  1. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add garlic, oregano, thyme, and a couple large pinches of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  3. Use your hands to crush the whole tomatoes and add the entire can (juices and all) to the pan along with parsley, basil, and a couple large pinches of salt and pepper. Add sugar if desired as well.
  4. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add cooked pasta to the pan along with a splash of pasta water.
  7. Toss to coat evenly, adding more pasta water as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Garnish with fresh grated Parmesan, parsley, basil, capers, and red pepper flakes, and enjoy! If you can find burrata cheese, add a dollop of that on top as well.



  • Salt your pasta water! I always, always recommend salting your pasta water with 2-4 tablespoons of Kosher salt. It completely transforms the flavor of your pasta and, ergo, the whole dish. For this recipe, save the pasta water to add to the sauce too!
  • Pasta water is my secret weapon in the kitchen! Once you start saving pasta water, you'll wonder how you ever dressed pasta without it! The starch from the water combines with the sauce and allows you to perfectly coat every nook and cranny of your noodles! You don't need to save the whole pot of water, just a 1/2 cup or so will do.
  • Whole San Marzano tomatoes come, well, whole! I like to use my hands to gently crush the whole tomatoes as I add them to the sauce. But you could also blend them in a food processor or blender, or even use a kitchen sheers to cut them into small pieces while they're in the saute pan! An immersion blender would work great as well!
  • Add a bit of sugar. Adding sugar to tomato sauce cuts the acidity of tomatoes, so if you are worried about the sauce being too acidic, a dash of sugar will do the trick. If you don't have any sugar on hand or prefer not to use it, try adding a couple pinches of baking soda, which will neutralize the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Double the sauce recipe, but keep the amount of pasta the same if you want a saucy pasta. This recipe as written coats the pasta in a scant amount of tomato sauce.


Keywords: Pomodoro sauce, pasta Pomodoro