Thursday, September 29, 2011

Penne Pasta with Quick Homemade Tomato Sauce

Usually when I make pasta sauce from scratch, I’m in the kitchen for an hour or longer roasting veggies, chopping ingredients, and standing over a bubbling pot, breathing in the aromatic fumes (I’m convinced that standing over a steaming pot of tomato sauce is good for your skin!). However, yesterday was a long day and by the time dinner rolled around, the last thing I wanted to do was cook an elaborate meal! 

Instead, I opted for pasta with a simple tomato sauce that I could add fresh and easy ingredients to. The whole meal literally took 20 min to make, and the result was a dish that was as vibrant and full of flavor as it was satisfying and easy to make. To finish it off, I added tangy kalamata olives, feta cheese, and marinated artichoke hearts - yum!

Getting Started

I made a variation of this recipe a few years ago, and for the life of me could not remember where it came from or exactly what went into it, so I decided to just wing it! I went to the store and bought 2 packages of grape tomatoes, a bunch of fresh parsley, and a bunch of basil; and headed back home to get to work.

Start by getting the pasta going (cook according to package directions for al dente); while the water is heating up, wash your tomatoes and pat them dry. Next, heat a skillet over medium to medium/high heat and add in the olive oil, tomatoes, and coarse salt. Cook until the tomatoes burst and release all of their juices. If you have any tomatoes that are hanging together too long, feel free to squish them…it’s very gratifying! Just before mixing in the pasta, add in the garlic and cook for another minute or so.

Once the pasta is ready, drain and add it to the sauce, along with the basil and parsley - make sure to coat well. Finally, add the olives, feta cheese, and artichoke hearts, and you are good to go! (We just added however much we wanted to our individual plates.)

Wrapping it up

That’s all there is to it! I told you this recipe was super easy! The tomato sauce with garlic and fresh herbs was fantastic by itself, but the feta, olives, and artichokes really gave it a boost. I think the best part, though, was that I didn’t have to clean a million dishes when I was done!


1/2 box penne pasta (1/2lb)
2 packages grape tomatoes (1 dry pint each)
1 Tbs olive oil
Coarse salt to taste
1 1/2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley, flat leaf
1 1/2 Tbs chopped fresh basil
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
Kalamata olives to taste
Feta cheese to taste
Marinated artichoke hearts to taste

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  1. Looks delicious! I love pasta with whatever's in the kitchen thrown on top.

  2. I like the idea of feta cheese in a tomato sauce - such a nice change up from parmesan or pecorino!

  3. I love pasta like this.. quick, fresh and tasty!

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