200-250gpasta (gluten-free if you want the dish to be GF)
2tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil
4large cloves garlic
1x400 g tin plum tomatoes
Handful fresh basil(leaves and stems, save some for garnish)
Salt and pepper, to taste
First things first, get your pasta cooking in some salted boiling water (follow package instructions).
Once that's on the go, heat the olive oil in a pan and add the chopped garlic. Fry gently on a low/medium heat for a minute or two, being careful not to burn it.
Once the garlic has softened, add in the tinned tomatoes, salt, and pepper. If using plum tomatoes, break these apart thoroughly using a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
After five minutes, the sauce should be quite thick. At this point, add a few splashes of the pasta cooking water to the pan. The starchy water helps to thin out the sauce while still keeping it thick – great for sticking to the cooked pasta.
Roughly chop most of the basil and add this to the pan. Stir well, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add to the pan with the tomato sauce. Don't worry about draining it too thoroughly – that starchy water is your friend. Stir well to coat the pasta and serve.
Tinned tomatoes: Any tinned tomatoes will do, but if you want the best results I'd go for a higher-end tin of plum tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes: Feel free to replace the tinned tomatoes with an equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes. These may take a little longer to break down and form a sauce, and you may need to add extra pasta cooking water. Herbs: I love the flavour of fresh basil in this recipe, but you could use dried basil. Other herbs such as oregano also work well in tomato sauces.Pasta variety: When it comes to simple tomato sauces, I like tube-shaped pasta varieties such as penne or rigatoni. The thick sauce can enter the tubes and stick to the outside ridges, making these great vehicles to carry the flavours.Of course, you could use any pasta you want or have lying around. This simple tomato sauce can also form the basis for a pasta bake or lasagne.Add some heat: If you like your food with a kick, add some chopped fresh chilli along with the garlic.Simple additions: Store-cupboard ingredients such as olives and capers make for great additions to a pasta sauce like this. If these sound good to you, I'd recommend checking out my recipe for Vegan Pasta Puttanesca.You could also add quick-cooking ingredients such as frozen peas or fresh spinach.Other additions: The great thing about a simple tomato sauce is that you can take it in any direction you like. I'll sometimes add in plant-based meat substitutes for a bit of additional texture, or oven-roasted veg for some extra flavours.Make it cheesy: This bowl of pasta is the perfect vessel for some delicious Four-Ingredient Vegan Parmesan. I make little batches of this and keep it in the fridge for up to a few weeks at a time.Make it a lighter meal:If you want to turn it into a lighter lunch or starter, try swapping out the pasta for spiralised courgette (zucchini noodles).Storage: You can store this tomato and basil pasta sauce in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to six months.If you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy: