If you’re curious, the “pomodoro” in Perfect Penne Pomodoro means “golden apple” because the tomatoes that are traditionally used have a golden color instead of the more typical red. This Perfect Penne Pomodoro might be more on the scarlet side of things, but it is still certainly scrumptious! The rich sauce is still vibrant, sweet, and welcoming, with wonderful Italian herbs and spices. The penne pasta is tender and the perfect shape for mopping up all that sauce. All it needs is a little cheese, and you have a golden dinner on the table with this Perfect Penne Pomodoro!

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For the sauce:

  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 rib celery, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans high-quality peeled whole tomatoes
  • 1 large handful basil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

For the pasta:

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • parmesan cheese, to taste, freshly grated, for serving
  • parsley, to taste, finely chopped, for serving


Step 1 –In a large saucepan, add the minced onion, the garlic, the celery, the carrot, the whole canned tomatoes, the basil, the olive oil, and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and stir to combine.

Step 2 –Simmer the onion mixture with the lid ajar, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.

Step 3 –Transfer the onion mixture from the heat and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.

Step 4 –Discard the basil leaves from the onion mixture.

Step 5 –Carefully transfer the onion mixture to a blender.

Step 6 –Add the sugar and the black pepper to the onion mixture and blend until smooth.

Also Read:  Power Grain Salad

Step 7 –Fill a large pot with water and sprinkle it with the remaining salt.

Step 8 –Bring the water to a boil.

Step 9 –Add the penne to the water and boil until al dente, according to the package directions.

Step 10 –Drain the penne and return to the pot.

Step 11 –Add 2 cups of the sauce to the penne and stir to combine.

Step 12 –Top the pasta with the cheese and the parsley.

Step 13 –Serve.