Recipe: Penne with Marinara Sauce (video)

Rich, tasty and always right...penne with marinara sauce is one of the all-time classic pasta recipes. Don't settle for boring old jar sauce when you can make your own sauce in less than 30 minutes! Watch the video below on making marinara sauce from scratch. It's surprisingly easy and freezes really well too. The secret to velvety smooth sauce? Add some of the starchy pasta water to the mix, then finish with a pat of butter and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. And, of course, garnish with fresh basil and plenty of freshly-grated real Parmesan cheese.

Pasta101 Cookbook photo   featured recipe This recipe is featured in the cookbook: "Pasta 101 - 12 Easy Recipes You Can make in Under 30 Minutes".

Penne with Marinara Sauce

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Penne with Marinara Sauce

Penne with Marinara Sauce


  • 16 oz. penne rigate pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 small sweet onion, minced
  • 1 small carrot, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans San Marzano crushed tomatoes
  • or fresh, ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh Italian parsley, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves, whole plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Salt & fresh-cracked black pepper


  1. Add the oil to a deep saucepan. Sauté the carrot and onion on medium heat until soft.
  2. Add the garlic. Sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, season and stir.
  3. Simmer on medium heat about 20 minutes. Transfer to a blender and pulse until smooth. Return the sauce to the pot and keep on low. Stir in half of the basil.
  4. While the sauce is cooking...Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  5. When the water is at a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoons of salt and drop in the pasta. Stir gently to prevent sticking.
  6. Cook until just al dente. When the pasta is almost ready, reserve some of the pasta water and set aside.
  7. Drain the hot pasta and put it back in the hot pot, OFF the heat. Add a small amount of the sauce and stir to coat the pasta well. Add more sauce and the remainder of the basil. Stir to combine.
  8. Add in the starchy water, a splash at a time, and stir together about a minute.
  9. To finish, add in the butter and a drizzle of olive oil and blend for a smooth, velvety sauce.
  10. Plate and garnish with a grating of fresh Parmesan cheese and a sprig of basil leaves.

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