This Italian penne pomodoro pasta is made with a delicious, homemade tomato sauce from oven-roasted tomatoes. Dinner in only 20 minutes has never tasted yummier! This penne pomodoro is something everyone in the family will love.

Penne noodles are a fan-favorite in my house. While you can use penne pasta in any pasta dish, here are a few pasta recipes that feature penne noodles: pesto pasta with tomatoes, pizza casserole, butternut squash and mushroom sage pasta, and pesto pasta with zucchini and ricotto.

A white plate full of red Penne Pomodoro pasta topped with fresh basil.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick and easy. This penne al pomodoro recipe is so quick to make! It’s perfect for a busy weeknight meal.
  • Easy ingredients. Using your classic Italian ingredients, this recipe is perfect because we use ingredients that are common to any kitchen.
  • Sauce consistency. This is a huge deal for me! It’s all about the sauce. And this sauce coats the noodles SO well. You won’t have to be fishing around on your plate to find some sauce to eat with the noodles.
  • Simply delicious. Honestly, the simplicity is what made this dish a home run for me. We use such simple ingredients, but the flavor it amazing thanks to oven-roasting the tomatoes and using fresh basil (which i highly recommend you don’t substitute for the dried counterpart!)
  • Vegetarian: This is a delicious and filling main dish that is completely vegetarian!

Ingredients

Ingredients used to make penne al Pomodoro on a white background.
  • Tomatoes: This is the base of the sauce so select tomatoes that you like! I used grape tomatoes, but you can use cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, etc.
  • Pasta: Obviously with penne pomodoro we use a penne pasta, but feel free to swap it out for your favorite noodle!
  • Fresh Basil: The fresh basil will add a fresh balanced flavor to the final dish. Do not substitute it for dried basil.
  • Sugar: Not your typical ingredient, but don’t freak out. It’s just a tiny bit of sugar to offset some of the acidity in the tomatoes and to bring out the natural sweetness in the tomatoes.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Roast the tomatoes in the oven. See my roasted grape tomatoes recipe.
  2. While the tomatoes are roasting in the oven, boil some water and cook the penne until al dente. Drain the noodles and place in a serving bowl.
  3. Remove the roasted tomatoes from the oven and put them in a blender. Add 1 T olive oil and the sugar. Blend until smooth. (If you want chunkier consistency don’t puree.)
  1. Pour the red sauce over the noodles.
Fresh pureed tomato sauce being poured overtop cooked penne noodles in a glass bowl.
  1. Toss the pasta to coat the noodles in sauce. Top the penne al pomodoro with fresh chopped basil and shaved parmesan. Enjoy!
Cooked penne noodles tossed in a red sauce in a glass bowl.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this delicious penne pomodoro alongside some baked zucchini fries, buttered vegetables, focaccia bread, or garlic dinner rolls.

Recipe Tips

Tomatoes: Feel free to use cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Roma tomatoes or any other small tomato variety. If using Romas, you’ll want to cut them a bit smaller prior to roasting. 

Garlic: If you want a more pronounced garlic flavor, add 2 more garlic cloves (so 4 total) when roasting the tomatoes. 

Cook time may vary depending on the size and type of tomatoes used.

Don’t skip the basil, it’s delicious! Add a handful of chopped fresh basil to the finished dish and you’ll be so amazed at how such a small plant can add so much depth to a pasta dish.

Now, this is a homemade penne al pomodoro recipe, so we make the sauce from scratch. It’s super simple and quick to make, and it makes all the difference! So, I don’t recommend using a store-bought tomato sauce. When it comes down to it, oven-roasting the tomatoes really makes the dish special.

Make your dinner prep even quicker by doubling or tripling the sauce and saving some to freeze to use later. Freeze the sauce in a Ziplock bag or airtight container for up to 3 months. Let the sauce thaw and warm on the stove before adding to cooked pasta.

Variations

Vegetables: Add some sauteed vegetables to the pasta. Pre-sautee the vegetables (such as zucchini or eggplant slices) and then add them to the pasta when you add the sauce.

Meat: Add some protein to dish such as cooked ground beef, cooked ground sausage, or pancetta. Pre-cook the meat and then add them to the pasta when you add the sauce.

Cheese: Top the pasta with your favorite Italian cheeses such as parmesan, mozzarella or a bit of ricotta.

FAQs

What does pomodoro mean?

Pomodoro is tomato in Italian! Hence this dish is made with a simple, homemade tomato sauce.

What is pomodoro sauce made of?

Pomodoro sauce is made of tomatoes and sometimes made with added seasonings such as garlic, basil, salt, etc.

What is the difference between marinara and pomodoro sauce?

Texture and consistency. Pomodoro sauce is typically thicker and smoother. Marinara sauce tends to be a bit runny and is chunkier.

Can I make pomodoro sauce with canned tomatoes?

Technically yes, but in this recipe we oven roast fresh tomatoes to really enhance the flavor. This will make your dish much tastier than if you simply blended canned tomatoes with the spices.

A white plate with Penne al Pomodoro on it, sitting on a green linen napkin.

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A white plate full of red Penne Pomodoro pasta topped with fresh basil.
Print Review
5 from 1 vote

Penne Pomodoro

This fresh penne al pomodoro pasta is an authetic Italian classic. A fresh oven roasted tomato red sauce bathes penne noodles to make for an easy and delicious entree!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 16 oz penne noodles
  • 32 oz cherry tomatoes - can use cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, roma tomatoes or any other small tomato. Cut in half or quarters depending on size of the tomato
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil - divided
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced, see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • fresh basil - for topping
  • shaved parmesan - for topping

Instructions
 

  •  Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle 2 T olive oil overtop. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the tomatoes in an even, single layer along the baking sheet. 
  • Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until shriveled to desired doneness. If using slightly larger tomatoes such as romas, you may need to cook them longer.  
  • Meanwhile, boil some water and cook the penne until al dente. Drain the noodles and place in a serving bowl.
  • Remove the roasted tomatoes from the oven and transfer the tomatoes to a blender. Add the remaining 1 T olive oil and sugar. Blend until smooth. If you want chunkier consistency don’t puree.
  • Pour the red sauce over the noodles and toss to coat, top with fresh chopped basil and shaved parmesan. Enjoy!

Notes

Tomatoes: Feel free to use cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Roma tomatoes or any other small tomato variety. If using Romas, you’ll want to cut them a bit smaller prior to roasting. 
Garlic: If you want a more pronounced garlic flavor, add 2 more garlic cloves (so 4 total) when roasting the tomatoes. 
Cook time may vary depending on the size and type of tomatoes used.
Don’t skip the basil, it’s delicious! Add a handful of chopped fresh basil to the finished dish and you’ll be so amazed at how such a small plant can add so much depth to a pasta dish.
There’s a really subtle garlic flavor — if you’re looking to really bring out a stronger garlic flavor, add 1-2 more garlic cloves.
Now, this is a homemade penne al pomodoro recipe, so we make the sauce from scratch. It’s super simple and quick to make, and it makes all the difference! So, I don’t recommend using a store-bought tomato sauce. When it comes down to it, oven-roasting the tomatoes really makes the dish special.
Make your dinner prep even quicker by doubling or tripling the sauce and saving some to freeze to use later. Freeze the sauce in a Ziplock bag or airtight container for up to 3 months. Let the sauce thaw and warm on the stove before adding to cooked pasta.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this delicious penne pomodoro alongside some baked zucchini fries, buttered vegetables, focaccia bread, or garlic dinner rolls.

Variations

Vegetables: Add some sauteed vegetables to the pasta. Pre-sautee the vegetables (such as zucchini or eggplant slices) and then add them to the pasta when you add the sauce.
Meat: Add some protein to dish such as cooked ground beef, cooked ground sausage, or pancetta. Pre-cook the meat and then add them to the pasta when you add the sauce.
Cheese: Top the pasta with your favorite Italian cheeses such as parmesan, mozzarella or a bit of ricotta.
Nutritional information is an estimate and does not include the fresh basil or parmesan cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 279kcal (14%)Carbohydrates: 47g (16%)Protein: 9g (18%)Fat: 6g (9%)Saturated Fat: 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 161mg (7%)Potassium: 378mg (11%)Fiber: 3g (12%)Sugar: 5g (6%)Vitamin A: 555IU (11%)Vitamin C: 26mg (32%)Calcium: 26mg (3%)Iron: 2mg (11%)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
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