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Pasta with Tomato, Garlic and Basil

4-6 Servings

20 minutes

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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.




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


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Lauren G.
February 20, 2024
Very easy and a crowd pleaser
Perfect for a weeknight meal! Easy to follow and quite flavorful.
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!
JoAnn S.
May 5, 2023
Creative use of tomato paste
This is a nice recipe where tomato paste is the star, not a supporting ingredient. It's quick, tasty, and comforting. I wouldn't change a thing. Use a can of high-quality paste, not concentrate in a tube.
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.

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.