Tasty Tomato Pasta

17 Sep 2023

This simple Tasty Tomato Pasta dish makes a cheap and easy meal.

The basil and tomato go together well and give the dish an Italian flavour. The sauce can be used to make lots of different meals; use as a pizza topping, serve with bread or liven up some vegetables.


1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 x 15ml spoons olive oil
2 x 400g cans OR cartons chopped tomatoes
1 x 5ml spoon sugar
1 x 5ml spoon dried basil
300g pasta shapes (uncooked weight)
Ground black pepper (optional)
75g reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
Small bunch fresh basil (optional)


Weighing scales
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Garlic crusher
Measuring spoons
Large frying pan with lid
Wooden spoon
Can opener
Large saucepan
Pan stand x 2
Tasting spoon
Large serving spoon


  1. Peel and finely chop the onion.
  2. Peel and crush the garlic (or chop finely).
  3. Measure the olive oil and heat gently in the frying pan for 1 minute.
  4. Add the onion and garlic and fry on a low heat until the onion has softened, stirring with a wooden spoon. This will take about 10 minutes.
  5. Open the cans or cartons of tomatoes and add to the frying pan together with the sugar and dried basil. Turn up the heat and stir well.
    When the sauce starts to bubble, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 10–15 minutes until the tomatoes and onions have formed a thick sauce. Stir occasionally.
  6. Whilst the sauce is simmering, boil some water in the kettle for the pasta, weigh the pasta and cook in the large saucepan according to the instructions on the packet. Once the pasta is cooked, remove from the heat and carefully drain in a colander.
  7. Taste the sauce and add black pepper (if using).
  8. Grate the cheese.
  9. To serve, place a portion of pasta into a bowl or plate, and spoon the tomato sauce over the top. Sprinkle with grated cheese and fresh basil leaves.

Top Tips

When the sauce is cooking it will bubble and can make quite a mess, so half-cover the frying pan with a lid. It is important that the water in the tomatoes can evaporate while cooking, so don’t cover the pan completely.

Something to try next time

  • Add 1 x 5ml spoon of balsamic vinegar instead of the sugar. It gives a tasty, slightly sweet flavour and a good colour.
  • Add 2 rashers of finely chopped bacon and ½ x 5ml spoon of chilli powder or flakes when you fry the onions at step 4.
  • Add 100g of sliced mushrooms and 1 chopped red pepper at step 4.
  • Stir in a 185g can of drained tuna and a few olives for the last 5 minutes of step 6.
    Add 100g of finely sliced chorizo sausage or cooked sliced sausages at step 8.

Prepare now, eat later

  • The tomato sauce can be cooked up to 2 days in advance, cooled quickly and stored in the fridge until needed. Cook the pasta when you are ready to serve.
  • Tomato sauce freezes well. Cool as quickly as possible and pour into plastic containers, then seal and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost thoroughly before reheating until bubbling hot.
  • Mix together the pasta and sauce adding a little cold water if the sauce is very thick. Pour into an ovenproof dish and top with the grated cheese. Cook in a preheated oven at 180°C/160°C fan or gas mark 4 for 25 minutes or until bubbling hot.