Penne Napoli (Recipe)

Penne Napoli (Recipe)

If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, then you’ve probably heard of Penne Napoli. This classic dish is a testament to the rich flavors and simplicity that define authentic Italian cooking. With its flavorful tomato-based sauce, tender penne pasta, and fragrant herbs, Penne Napoli is a must-try for any pasta lover.

Originating in Naples, Italy, Penne Napoli showcases the vibrant and robust flavors of the region. The sauce is made by sautéing onions and garlic in olive oil until they’re soft and fragrant. Then, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and fresh basil are added to create a delightful blend of flavors. The small ridges of penne pasta are perfect for capturing the sauce, resulting in a delightful combination of textures.

What makes Penne Napoli even more enticing is its versatility. You can easily customize the recipe by adding your favorite vegetables or herbs to make it your own. It can also be made gluten-free by using a gluten-free pasta, making it accessible to everyone.

Key Takeaways:

  • Penne Napoli is a classic Italian dish that originated in Naples, Italy.
  • The sauce for Penne Napoli is made with sautéed onions, garlic, canned tomatoes, and fresh basil.
  • Penne pasta is the perfect choice for this dish, as its ridges help trap the sauce.
  • You can customize Penne Napoli by adding your favorite vegetables, herbs, or even a touch of cream.
  • Serve Penne Napoli with freshly grated Parmesan and sliced fresh basil for an authentic Italian experience.

How to Make Penne Napoli in Minutes

Penne Napoli is one of the easiest pasta sauces you can make. It requires just a few ingredients and can be ready in minutes.

  1. Sauté onions in olive oil until softened.
  2. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and a pinch of sugar.
  4. Simmer the sauce for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, cook penne pasta until al dente in salted boiling water.
  6. Drain the pasta and reserve some of the pasta water.
  7. Combine the cooked penne with the sauce and toss until well coated.
  8. If the sauce needs to be loosened, add a splash of the reserved pasta water.

Serve the Penne Napoli with freshly grated Parmesan and sliced fresh basil.

Additional Tips:

  • To enhance the flavor, add sautéed mushrooms or bell peppers to the sauce.
  • For a spicier kick, sprinkle some red pepper flakes over the finished dish.
  • If you prefer a creamier sauce, stir in a dollop of mascarpone or a splash of heavy cream.
  • Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy this homemade Penne Napoli recipe, the best and easiest way to savor the flavors of Italy in just a few minutes!

The Secret to a Flavorful Penne Napoli Sauce

The key to a flavorful Penne Napoli sauce lies in using high-quality ingredients and adding the right seasonings. Start by using good-quality canned tomatoes, such as San Marzano, for the best flavor. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil to create a flavorful base for the sauce. Adding fresh basil enhances the taste and aroma of the sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Adding a splash of heavy cream or stirring in some mascarpone can add richness to the sauce if desired. You can also customize the sauce by adding vegetables like bell peppers or different Italian herbs like oregano or marjoram. Don’t forget to check the seasoning before serving and adjust if necessary.

Tips and Variations for Penne Napoli

Here are some tips and variations to enhance your Penne Napoli experience:

  1. If you prefer a smoother sauce, blend the tomatoes before adding them to the sauce.
  2. For a chunkier sauce, use canned plum tomatoes and chop them up.
  3. Add cooked mushrooms, capsicum (bell pepper), or celery to make the sauce heartier.
  4. For a spicy kick, add fresh chili or red pepper flakes to the sauce.
  5. Remember to reserve some of the starchy pasta water to adjust the sauce’s consistency.

“The small ridges of penne pasta help trap the sauce, making it the perfect choice for this dish.”

Penne Napoli can be made in advance and frozen for later use. It’s a convenient option for busy days or when you want to enjoy a homemade meal without the hassle. To serve Penne Napoli, pair it with crusty bread, garlic bread, or a side of vegetables for a complete and satisfying meal.

And here’s an image to get you in the mood for some delicious Penne Napoli:

Now that you have the tips and ideas to elevate your Penne Napoli, it’s time to get cooking and savor the authentic flavors of this classic Italian dish!

Is Penne Napoli an Authentic Italian Dish?

Yes, Penne Napoli is an authentic Italian dish that originated in Naples, Italy. It is a classic Italian recipe that has been passed down through generations. The Napoli sauce, also known as Napolitana sauce, is a tomato-based sauce made with garlic, onion, and fresh herbs. It is a regional favorite in Naples and has been brought to the United States by Italian immigrants. Penne Napoli is a popular and beloved dish in Italy and is now enjoyed by people all over the world.

Traditional Italian Penne Napoli Recipe

  1. Cook the penne pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
  2. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add minced garlic and sauté for a minute until fragrant.
  4. Add diced onions and sauté until they become translucent.
  5. Pour in canned diced tomatoes and tomato paste.
  6. Add fresh basil leaves and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Drain the cooked penne pasta and add it to the sauce.
  9. Toss the pasta in the sauce until well coated.
  10. Serve hot with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

Penne Napoli Recipe Variations

If you’re feeling adventurous, here are a few variations you can try:

  • Add cooked Italian sausage for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Incorporate sautéed bell peppers and mushrooms for a veggie-packed twist.
  • Spice things up with a pinch of red pepper flakes or a splash of hot sauce.
  • Add a dollop of mascarpone cheese for a creamy and indulgent sauce.

Comparison of Penne Napoli Recipes

Ingredients Classic Penne Napoli Veggie-Packed Penne Napoli Spicy Penne Napoli
Penne pasta
Tomato sauce
Fresh basil
Italian sausage
Bell peppers
Red pepper flakes
Mascarpone cheese

Serving Suggestions and Storage Tips for Penne Napoli

After preparing the delicious Italian Penne Napoli dish, there are several serving suggestions and storage tips to enhance your dining experience:

  • Top your Penne Napoli with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and finely sliced fresh basil for added flavor. The combination of these ingredients complements the rich tomato sauce perfectly.
  • Consider serving your Penne Napoli with a side of crusty bread or garlic bread. The bread can be used to mop up any remaining sauce and adds a delightful texture to your meal.
  • If you prefer a lighter accompaniment, a vegetable side dish such as a mixed green salad or steamed broccoli works well. The refreshing greens provide a contrast to the savory pasta.

Leftover Penne Napoli can be stored for later consumption:

  1. Place any remaining Penne Napoli in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. This allows you to enjoy the dish as a quick and convenient meal during the week.
  2. To reheat the pasta, simply place it in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed through. If the sauce has thickened, add a splash of water to help loosen it and restore the desired consistency.
  3. If you have extra Napoli sauce, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container and placing it in the freezer.

Although the sauce can be frozen, it is recommended to cook fresh pasta each time for the best texture and taste. The combination of al dente penne pasta and freshly made Napoli sauce will elevate your dining experience.

Penne Napoli Recipe Card – Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these simple steps to create a delicious and easy Penne Napoli dish:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add 1 diced onion to the pan and sauté until softened and slightly golden.
  3. Stir in 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes (14 oz) and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to the pan.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir in 1 teaspoon of dried oregano.
  6. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. In a separate pot, cook 8 oz of penne pasta according to the package instructions.
  8. Once the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the sauce.
  9. Toss the pasta in the sauce until well coated and heated through.
  10. Serve the Penne Napoli hot, garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil.


Penne Napoli is an authentic, classic Italian dish that captures the essence of Italian flavors. This easy-to-make pasta dish is perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a quick weeknight dinner or a special gathering with friends and family. The combination of the rich tomato sauce, sautéed onions and garlic, and aromatic herbs creates a harmonious blend of flavors that will leave your taste buds craving for more.

To experience the true taste of Italy, serve your Penne Napoli with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and sliced fresh basil. The sharpness of the Parmesan adds a delightful contrast to the sweet and tangy tomato sauce, while the fresh basil brings a burst of freshness to every bite.

So why wait? Try this classic Penne Napoli recipe today and transport yourself to the picturesque streets of Naples. Indulge in the vibrant flavors of Italy and create a memorable dining experience for yourself and your loved ones. Buon appetito!


What is Penne Napoli?

Penne Napoli is a traditional Italian pasta dish made with a quick and easy tomato-based sauce.

How do I make Penne Napoli?

To make Penne Napoli, sauté onions and garlic, add diced tomatoes and tomato paste, and simmer for 20 minutes. Toss with cooked penne pasta and serve with Parmesan and fresh basil.

How can I make Penne Napoli sauce more flavorful?

Use high-quality ingredients including good-quality canned tomatoes, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, add fresh basil, and season with salt and pepper. You can also customize the sauce with vegetables or add cream for richness.

What are some tips and variations for Penne Napoli?

You can blend the tomatoes for a smoother sauce or use canned plum tomatoes for a chunkier texture. Add cooked mushrooms, capsicum (bell pepper), or celery for a heartier sauce. For spice, add chili or red pepper flakes. Reserve pasta water to adjust the sauce’s consistency.

Is Penne Napoli an authentic Italian dish?

Yes, Penne Napoli is an authentic Italian dish that originated in Naples, Italy, and has been enjoyed for generations.

How should I serve and store Penne Napoli?

Serve Penne Napoli immediately with freshly grated Parmesan and fresh basil. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, and the sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Can I have a step-by-step recipe card for Penne Napoli?

Here is a step-by-step recipe card for making Penne Napoli:

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