Penne pasta with tomato basil cream sauce

When it comes to pasta, the Italians I flatshared with in my early twenties while living in Spain taught me three things:

  • Use only the freshest, highest quality ingredients
  • Keep it simple
  • Take your time, and nurture your food – your guests will learn to love the wait 😉

If you do those three things, you’ll always get perfect pasta.

I guess they were right!

The simple tomato sauce base for this dish comes from my own basic tomato sauce recipe, which you can find here. Here’s my take on a mouthwateringly fresh-tasting penne pasta with a creamy tomato-basil sauce – enjoy….!

Flavour: Savoury and slightly tangy

Serves: 4 as a main meal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1kg ripe tomatoes (often the best tomatoes for this are the ones marked down for quick sale, as they’re as ripe as they’ll ever get, and need to be used within a day or two)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt – add more to taste if you like it salty
  • 1 teaspoon sugar – I use rapadura or palm sugar, but raw cane sugar would do just fine
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • generous grind of black pepper, or to taste
  • small bunch of basil, leaves only (most folks would use Italian basil for this, but I favour Thai, as it has a more complex flavour)
  • 400g penne pasta


  1. Boil a pot of water – as much or as little as you need to just barely cover the number of tomatoes you’re planning to peel
  2. Core your tomatoes by sliding your knife around the core about half and inch to an inch deep (depending on how big the tomato is, thus how deep the core goes), and slide out the core – it should be cone-shaped – this way you’ll lose very little of your tomato
  3. Pop your tomatoes into your boiling water, and wait for the skins to loosen – you’ll see them go wrinkly and split – this should take 5 minutes or less
  4. Take off the heat, and gently lift out your tomatoes with a slotted spoon, leaving them on a plate to cool (you could plunge them into ice water if you need to work fast)
  5. Once your tomatoes are cool enough to handle, you can simply slide the skins off gently, et voila – you’re done!
  6. Roughly chop your tomatoes, and set aside
  7. Mince your garlic, and toss it in a saucepan with the olive oil – turn the heat to medium, and cook for just 1 minute
    • Amateur tip: see here for how to mince your garlic to a fine paste – it’s so simple, you’ll never go back to chunky chopped garlic!
  8. Toss in your chopped tomatoes, stir through, and add the salt and sugar
  9. Cook chunky sauce over medium heat for 5 minutes
  10. Push chunky tomato sauce through sieve – try to squeeze as much juice out as possible
  11. Reduce sauce further over medium heat until the consistency is saucy, not soggy
    • At this point you should bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and cook your pasta as per instructions – your pasta should be cooked slightly after your sauce is ready
  12. Add soy milk and nutritional yeast to your tomato sauce, stir, and reduce for a further 2 minutes
  13. Add black pepper, stir in basil, and take off the heat
  14. Drain pasta, and stir sauce through it – serve immediately

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