Tomato and basil penne

Tomato and basil penne

Half-Hour Hungries
30 mins
Cooking time
30 mins
Mark Roper

One of my best friends, Emily, taught me how to make a variation of this recipe over a decade ago. I love how this dish is bursting with summery freshness.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon salt, to add to pasta water
300g penne
2 tablespoons olive oil
1kg ripe tomatoes, stem ends removed, sliced into wedges
1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
10g torn fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon flat-leaf parsley leaves
40g toasted pine nuts
marinated goat’s cheese or parmesan cheese, to garnish, optional


  1. With adult help: Add one tablespoon of salt to a large saucepan and fill it three-quarters of the way up with water you have boiled in a kettle. Heat the salted water over high heat until boiling, then, wearing oven mitts, carefully add the penne. Stir regularly with a long-handled wooden spoon to prevent the pasta sticking. Cook for 12 minutes, or until al dente (cooked through but still firm).
  2. With adult help: While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium–low heat. Wearing oven mitts, add the tomato and salt to the pan, being careful of splashing. Cook, with the lid askew and stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have been reduced to a chunky sauce, around 15 minutes. Stir in the basil and parsley.
  3. With adult help: Wearing oven mitts, pour the cooked penne into a colander positioned in the sink and drain well. Return the penne to the saucepan, add the sauce and stir well. Heat through over medium heat for roughly 1 minute.
  4. Divide between 4 bowls and serve immediately with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts. If you like, place a bowl of marinated goat’s cheese or shaved parmesan cheese on the table – invite everyone to take a little and crumble or scatter over their pasta.

Time-saving tips

  • Have all your equipment and ingredients ready. Find a kitchen hand to help you prepare the ingredients ahead of time.
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