Welcome to our kitchen, where we’re about to embark on a delightful journey with penne pasta! Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a culinary novice, this recipe promises to satisfy your taste buds and elevate your dinner table.

Picture this: perfectly cooked penne, bathed in a luscious marinara sauce, sprinkled with grated Parmesan, and garnished with fresh basil leaves. The aroma alone is enough to transport you to an Italian trattoria, where laughter echoes and wine flows freely.

But wait, there’s more! Our penne pasta isn’t just about the basics. We’ve added a twist, a secret ingredient that’ll make your taste buds dance. Are you curious? Well, keep reading, because we’re about to spill the beans (or should we say, penne?).

Whether you’re hosting a family dinner, a cozy date night, or simply craving comfort food, this penne pasta recipe has you covered. So grab your apron, sharpen those knives, and let’s dive into the world of flavors, textures, and culinary magic.

Ready? Buon appetito!

Penne Pasta Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for your delicious penne pasta recipe:

  1. Penne Pasta: About 12 ounces (340 grams) of penne pasta.
  2. Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons for sautéing and flavor.
  3. Garlic: 3 cloves, minced (adjust to taste).
  4. Onion: 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped.
  5. Canned Crushed Tomatoes: 1 can (28 ounces or 800 grams).
  6. Tomato Paste: 2 tablespoons.
  7. Dried Basil: 1 teaspoon (or fresh basil if available).
  8. Dried Oregano: 1 teaspoon.
  9. Red Pepper Flakes: A pinch (adjust to your preferred spice level).
  10. Salt and Pepper: To taste.
  11. Parmesan Cheese: Grated, for serving.
  12. Fresh Basil Leaves: For garnish.

How do you Cook Penne Pasta?

Let’s dive into the step-by-step cooking instructions for your delectable penne pasta recipe:


  • 12 ounces (340 grams) penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 ounces or 800 grams) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or fresh basil if available)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (for serving)
  • Fresh basil leaves (for garnish)


  1. Boil the Penne:
    • Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil.
    • Add a generous pinch of salt to the boiling water.
    • Add the penne pasta and cook according to the package instructions (usually around 8-10 minutes) until al dente.
    • Drain the pasta and set it aside.
  2. Prepare the Sauce:
    • In a separate saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
    • Add the minced garlic and chopped onion. Sauté until the onion turns translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
    • Stir in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.
    • Season with dried basil, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
    • Simmer the sauce for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  3. Combine Pasta and Sauce:
    • Add the cooked penne pasta to the tomato sauce.
    • Toss everything together until the pasta is well-coated with the sauce.
    • Adjust the seasoning if needed.

Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce for Penne Pasta

Let’s create a flavorful sauce that will elevate your penne pasta to new heights. This sauce pairs beautifully with the tender pasta, infusing it with rich, savory flavors. Here’s how to make it:


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces or 800 grams) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or a handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes (optional, for a hint of heat)


  1. Sauté the Aromatics:
    • Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
    • Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  2. Add the Tomatoes:
    • Pour in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.
    • Stir well to combine.
  3. Season and Simmer:
    • Add the dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
    • If using fresh basil, reserve it for later.
    • Let the sauce simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  4. Create Creaminess:
    • Reduce the heat to low.
    • Pour in the heavy cream and stir until well incorporated.
    • If you prefer a thicker sauce, simmer for a few more minutes.
  5. Adjust Seasoning:
    • Taste the sauce and adjust the salt, pepper, and basil as needed.
    • If you like a little kick, sprinkle in some red pepper flakes.
  6. Finish with Fresh Basil:
    • If using fresh basil, stir it into the sauce just before serving.
    • The aroma of fresh basil will enhance the overall experience.

This sauce is a delightful balance of tangy tomatoes, aromatic garlic, and the richness of cream. It’s comfort in a bowl, a symphony of flavors that’ll make your taste buds sing. Buon appetito! 🍝🌿🔥

Tips and Variations

Tips for Perfect Penne Pasta

  1. Salt the Boiling Water: When cooking the penne, add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water. This seasons the pasta from within and ensures it’s flavorful.
  2. Al Dente: Cook the penne until it’s al dente (firm to the bite). This way, it retains its texture and doesn’t become mushy.
  3. Reserve Pasta Water: Before draining the cooked penne, save a cup of the starchy pasta water. It’s a secret ingredient for creating a silky sauce later.
  4. Sauté Veggies: For a healthier twist, sauté some bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach. Toss them with the pasta and sauce.
  5. Fresh Herbs: Use fresh basil, parsley, or even mint as a garnish. The aroma and flavor elevate the dish.

Creative Variations

  1. Penne Alfredo: Swap the marinara sauce for a creamy Alfredo sauce. Add butter, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and garlic to create a luscious coating for the penne.
  2. Penne Primavera: Load up on colorful veggies, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and asparagus. Sauté them and mix with the penne.
  3. Spicy Arrabbiata: If you love heat, make an arrabbiata sauce by adding red pepper flakes and extra garlic to the tomato base.
  4. Pesto Penne: Toss the penne with homemade basil pesto. Add pine nuts and grated Pecorino Romano for extra flair.
  5. Baked Penne: Layer the cooked penne with ricotta cheese, marinara sauce, and mozzarella. Bake until bubbly and golden.

Remember, cooking is an art, feel free to experiment and make this penne pasta recipe your own! 🍝🌟

Serving Suggestions

Let’s explore some delightful serving suggestions to complement your penne pasta dish. These ideas will elevate your meal and make it a memorable dining experience:

  1. Garlic Bread: A classic pairing! Whip up some garlic bread by toasting slices of baguette or Italian bread with garlic butter. Serve it alongside your penne pasta for a satisfying crunch.
  2. Fresh Basil Sprigs: Garnish each plate with a few fresh basil leaves. The aroma of basil complements the tomato-based sauce beautifully.
  3. Grated Parmesan Cheese: Set out a bowl of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Let your guests sprinkle it generously over their penne pasta. The salty, nutty flavor enhances every bite.
  4. Red Pepper Flakes: For those who love a bit of heat, offer a small bowl of red pepper flakes. Guests can customize their spice level by adding a pinch to their pasta.
  5. Side Salad: Create a simple side salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a light vinaigrette. The freshness balances the richness of the pasta.
  6. Wine Pairing: If you’re serving this for a special occasion, consider pairing your penne pasta with a glass of red wine (like a Chianti or Sangiovese) or a crisp white wine (such as Pinot Grigio).
  7. Lemon Zest: Grate some lemon zest over the pasta just before serving. The citrusy brightness cuts through the flavors and adds a zing.
  8. Crusty Baguette: Offer slices of crusty baguette on the side. They’re perfect for sopping up any remaining sauce.

Serving suggestions are all about enhancing the overall experience. Feel free to get creative and tailor these ideas to your taste and occasion. Buon appetito! 🍝🌿🥖🍷

Penne Pasta Calories: Nutritional Information

Let’s explore the nutritional information for penne pasta. Keep in mind that the exact values may vary based on specific recipes and portion sizes, but here are some general estimates:

Penne Pasta (1 cup cooked):

  • Calories: Approximately 200 calories.
  • Total Fat: 1 gram (with no saturated or trans fat).
  • Protein: 7 grams.
  • Carbohydrates: 42 grams (including 2 grams of dietary fiber and 2 grams of sugar).
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams.
  • Sodium: 0 milligrams.
  • Calcium: 8.7 milligrams.
  • Iron: 1.6 milligrams.

Remember that these values are approximate and can vary based on cooking methods and specific ingredients used. Enjoy your penne pasta! 🍝🌟

In Summary: A Taste of Italy on Your Plate

Congratulations! You’ve just mastered the art of creating a mouthwatering penne pasta dish. As you take that first forkful, let the flavors transport you to the sun-kissed hills of Tuscany or the bustling streets of Rome. Here’s what you’ve achieved:

  1. Simplicity Perfected: Penne pasta, with its ridges and hollow centers, cradles the sauce beautifully. It’s a canvas waiting to be adorned with flavor.
  2. The Sauce: Whether you opted for a classic marinara, a creamy Alfredo, or a zesty arrabbiata, the sauce is the heart of this dish. It’s where tomatoes meet herbs, garlic whispers, and cream swirls. It’s comfort, tradition, and innovation all at once.
  3. The Ritual: Cooking penne pasta isn’t just about following steps; it’s a ritual. The bubbling pot, the aroma filling your kitchen, the anticipation, it’s a dance between you and the ingredients.
  4. Garnishes and Gratitude: As you sprinkle Parmesan and garnish with basil, remember that food is more than sustenance. It’s a celebration of life, shared with loved ones around the table.
  5. Buon Appetito: So raise your fork, twirl those penne strands, and savor each bite. Let the flavors linger on your palate. And as you wipe the sauce from your lips, know that you’ve created more than a meal, you’ve crafted memories.

Thank you for joining us on this culinary adventure. Until next time, keep experimenting, keep sharing, and keep the spirit of Italy alive in your kitchen.

Buon appetito! 🍝🌟🇮🇹


  1. Creamy Penne Pasta Recipe – The Forked Spoon
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  3. 12 Best Penne Pasta Recipes – The Pasta Project (
  4. Pasta Penne 101: Discover The Secrets Behind This Delicious Italian Dish – Cookindocs
  5. Penne Pasta Nutrition Facts – Eat This Much
  6. Calories in Penne Pasta (