Penne with tomato and basil

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Feeds


Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

I wish I had invented this. It’s quite simply the best pasta sauce in the world. It’s not one of the oldest, because tomatoes didn’t hit Italy until the end of the sixteenth century, but they certainly made up for lost time, Even miserable out-of-season tomatoes are improved with this treatment, so summer’s best become truly heavenly.


  • 1 kg (2 lb) ripe, red tomatoes
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 500 g (1 lb) penne


Dunk tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and peel off skin. Cut in half and squeeze out seeds. Chop remaining tomato flesh roughly.

Gently heat olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, salt and sugar and half the basil leaves and cook gently until soft, around 30 minutes.

Cook pasta in plenty of simmering, salted water until tender, but still firm to the bite. Drain well, and divide between 4 warmed pasta plates.

Add remaining basil leaves to the tomato sauce, heat through quickly and spoon on top of the pasta.