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This jammy pantry ingredient creates a deeply flavorful sauce in minutes
Milk Street Bowtie Pasta with Tomato, Garlic and Basil

Pasta with Tomato, Garlic and Basil

20 minutes

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Pasta with Tomato, Garlic and Basil

Free

This is a super-quick, ultra-easy version of basic pasta with tomato sauce. We double down on basil flavor and fragrance by using both fresh and dried, added at different stages during cooking. We like the subtle fruitiness and spicy heat of a fresh Fresno chili here, but a jarred pickled hot cherry pepper is good, too.

4-6

Servings

Tip

Don’t boil the pasta until it’s al dente. Drain it when it’s just shy of al dente; the noodles will finish cooking directly in the sauce, which allows them to absorb flavors. Also, don’t forget to reserve about 1½ cups cooking water before draining the pasta. The starchy seasoned liquid is essential for creating silky sauced noodles.

20 minutes

1 pound campanelle, cavatappi or fusilli pasta
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, torn if large
1 Fresno chili or pickled hot cherry pepper, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
6 ounce can tomato paste (⅔ cup)
Finely grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, to serve (optional)
Ingredients
  • 1

    pound campanelle, cavatappi or fusilli pasta

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 3

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

  • 3

    medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1

    teaspoon dried basil

  • 1

    cup lightly packed fresh basil, torn if large

  • 1

    Fresno chili or pickled hot cherry pepper, stemmed and sliced into thin rings

  • 6

    ounce can tomato paste (⅔ cup)

  • Finely grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, to serve (optional)

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Reviews
Tyler B.
June 27, 2022
Shockingly simple and perfect
I couldn't believe how simple this recipe was and the impact of the flavors. For the 90% of the year when you can't really get good tomatoes, this is the perfect tomato showcase. Loved it!
flavia Z.

I notice the recipe refers to 'cans'. Is there any reason not to use the double or triple tomato paste in tubes?

Lynn C.

Hi Flavia -

We prefer the basic canned tomato paste here because we like having the ability to control the intensity of the tomato flavor. Cooking down the double- and triple-concentrated tomato paste can sometimes overpower the dish. That being said, the dish will still work with the concentrated tomato paste, you just may find it's harder to tell when it's browned since it's already so dark.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Jennifer B.

Yes it's quick and easy. Good filler for a busy night.

Christine D.

Awesome recipe it will change the way I make marinara - no need to use jarred unless you love it.


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Pasta with Tomato, Garlic and Basil

Get Ready to Cook

4-6

Servings

20 minutes

Tip

Don’t boil the pasta until it’s al dente. Drain it when it’s just shy of al dente; the noodles will finish cooking directly in the sauce, which allows them to absorb flavors. Also, don’t forget to reserve about 1½ cups cooking water before draining the pasta. The starchy seasoned liquid is essential for creating silky sauced noodles.

Ingredients
  • 1

    pound campanelle, cavatappi or fusilli pasta

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 3

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

  • 3

    medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1

    teaspoon dried basil

  • 1

    cup lightly packed fresh basil, torn if large

  • 1

    Fresno chili or pickled hot cherry pepper, stemmed and sliced into thin rings

  • 6

    ounce can tomato paste (⅔ cup)

  • Finely grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, to serve (optional)

Step 1 of 3

Cook Pasta

1
pound campanelle, cavatappi or fusilli pasta
Kosher salt

In a Dutch oven, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve about 2 cups of the cooking water, then drain and set aside.

Step 2 of 3

Combine Ingredients In Pot

3
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3
medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1
teaspoon dried basil
½
cup lightly packed fresh basil, torn if large
1
Fresno chili or pickled hot cherry pepper, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
6
ounce can tomato paste (⅔ cup)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

In the same pot over medium-high, cook the oil, garlic and dried basil, stirring constantly, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add half of the fresh basil, the chili, tomato paste and ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the paste browns and slightly sticks to the pot, 1 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta water and scrape up the browned bits, then add the pasta and cook over medium-low, tossing to coat the noodles, until the pasta is al dente, about another 2 minutes; add more reserved water as needed so the pasta is silky and lightly sauced.

Step 3 of 3

Finish and Serve

½
cup lightly packed fresh basil, torn if large
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil to serve
Finely grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, to serve

Off heat, stir in the remaining basil, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with additional oil and sprinkled with cheese (if using).

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Done!

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