Every family has their own “staple” recipes that make regular appearances at the dinner table. Growing up, pasta and other such Italian favorites were ours. I loved our spaghetti nights, and now that I have kids I have definitely kept the tradition going. I remember watching my parents cook as a child, and one thing I learned about Italian cooking is that it takes time, which isn’t necessarily something we have a lot of these days. Luckily I love getting creative in the kitchen, and I’ve found a way to serve up that same homemade taste in a fraction of the time. Sure, it might not be as authentic as making my own noodles and sauce from scratch, but it tastes amazing, and that’s what counts!
I am a big fan of penne noodles. They are my noodle of choice in pretty much any pasta dish, so I’ll be using them here. Another great pasta to use in this recipe is bowtie or even linguine. This recipe is all about saving time, and I can’t tell you how awesome it is to only use *one* pot when making dinner. I’m not sure how you do it, but in my house pasta is normally a three or more dish adventure. Not anymore! So, let’s get to our super easy recipe for one-pot tomato basil penne. Here is what you need:
- 4 servings of uncooked pasta (check package serving sizes to determine how much you will need)
- 1/2 jar of Ragu Homestyle Thick & Hearty sauce (Traditional flavor)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup white onion
- 1/4 cup sliced fresh garlic
- Black and cayenne pepper to taste (leave this out if you don’t want it spicy)
The first thing you want to do is combine everything except your pasta sauce in a large skillet. *It is important to make sure you have enough liquid in your pan, so if your stock doesn’t cover your pasta add in a little more until it does.
Cook on high for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed and/or cooked out. If you happen to have extra after your noodles are cooked you can go ahead and spoon it out. But only if it is a lot, because a little left in will be fine.
Lower your heat setting to medium and stir in your pasta sauce. I’m using Ragu here because it is perfect right out of the jar. The Homestyle sauce is their thickest sauce yet, and it just hugs the pasta! Ragu is the real deal – they peel, chop and simmer ingredients with a special blend of herbs to layer the flavor, and they don’t use artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup, which is fabulous! I grew up with Ragu, so I carried it with me through adulthood. They didn’t heave nearly as many flavor varieties back then, but it still had the same rich, robust tomato flavor that I’ve grown to love.
Once you stir in your sauce, cook on medium for 5-ish minutes and then serve! That was super easy, and you have an entire family meal using ONE pot in under 15 minutes. I’m just going to go ahead and say it: amazing. I like to garnish mine with more fresh basil and a sprinkle of Romano cheese, but you can add whatever spices you like. I love the simplicity of this dish, and I really love that I’m not spending my night washing pots, strainers, and more.
BONUS IDEA! Do you love pasta on the go? With the Ragu Homestyle sauces, there is no need to add anything extra so it’s easy to take it with you! For my lunches on the go, I pour a little sauce in the bottom of a large jar, then add in a layer of fresh basil leaves on top, then fill the rest of the way with my pasta.
The basil leaves act as a barrier between the sauce and pasta, so nothing gets soggy.
When I’m ready to eat, I just give it a shake and eat it right out of the jar. Perfect meal on the go! Want to learn more about Ragu’s awesome homestyle sauces? Check it out here.