Pasta and Fresh Tomato Sauce with Chile Pepper and Basil

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| Servings: Serves 4


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed with garlic press
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • table salt
  • 1 pound pasta (see note)


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil, pepper flakes, and garlic in medium skillet over medium heat until garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomatoes; increase heat to medium-high and cook until liquid given off by tomatoes evaporates and tomato pieces lose their shape to form a chunky sauce, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in basil and salt to taste; cover to keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot or soup kettle. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente (refer to package directions; cooking times vary with different shapes).
  5. Reserve ¼ cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot. Mix in reserved cooking water, sauce, and remaining tablespoon oil; toss well to combine. Serve immediately.



Any type of tomato may be used in this recipe—just make sure to choose the ripest, most flavorful ones available. Short tubular or curly pasta shapes such as penne or fusilli are well-suited to this chunky sauce. Alternately, before adding the basil, the sauce may be pureed in a blender or food processor so it will coat strands of spaghetti or linguine. The recipe may be doubled in a 12-inch skillet. The sauce freezes well, but add the basil when reheating. – America’s Test Kitchen