November 19, 2010

Easy Peasy Penne

Have you ever been too busy to cook?

Have you ever come home and dreaded the idea of having to make dinner?

Have you ever looked like this at the thought of grocery shopping?

From Hyperbole and a Half

Well, if you have, I’ve got a great solution. When you’re tired, in a rush, and the idea of grocery shopping makes you despair for humanity, my Easy Peasy Penne is the dish for you. Consisting entirely of ingredients that are already hanging out in your pantry and refrigerator, this quick little pasta dish is covered with an simple, savory tomato sauce that adds a nice punch of flavor without weighing things down or making them complicated.

Because my camera decided to spazz whenever I tried to take pictures over by the stove—you know, a really washed out background with a really dark pot of tomato sauce—I’ve just got some lovely ingredient photos for you today. Still, I think you’ve got plenty of imagination and you can surely visualize the in-between process, correct?

First, it’s just a matter of tossing some onions in a pot with a bit of olive oil and sautéing.

To that, you add in some chopped garlic…

…and chopped green olives, cooking for another minute or so.

To those base ingredients, pour in a big ol’ can of chopped tomatoes.

Season it a bit with some salt, pepper, sugar, cayenne pepper, and dried basil. Then, add a little glug of red wine.

You’ve heard me say it before—I love those miniature bottles of wine for this type of thing.

After letting all that simmer together for about five minutes, dump a package of cooked penne (or any pasta that you have on hand) into the pot and stir it all in.

If you’ve got a block of Parmesan cheese, grate it up. If not, you can use really whatever cheese you like.

Okay, maybe not string cheese, but you know what I mean.

Place it all in a bowl and you’re done!

If you’ve got more time, you can always add veggies or perhaps some chicken or ground beef for a bit of protein—it’s really up to you. Play around with the recipe and make it your own!

Easy Peasy Penne

A La Kocinera Original Recipe

Printable Recipe

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup (about 10) green olives, chopped

28-ounce can crushed or chopped tomatoes

3/4 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4 cup red wine

1 package penne pasta, cooked

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, sauté the onion over medium heat until softened, about two minutes. Add the garlic and green olives, cooking for another minute or so. Pour in the canned tomatoes and give it all a good stir. Add the basil, salt, pepper, sugar, and cayenne pepper, stirring to combine. Finally, add the red wine.

Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and toss the cooked penne into the sauce, stirring until the pasta is coated with sauce.

Serve warm, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.


  1. Thanks - I like nice, simple recipes. I like the addition of the olives - great idea.

  2. This penne looks lovely! I have some baked chicken I'm looking to spice up and this pasta will do just the trick! Thanks Koci!

  3. Actually, if you go light on salt and use string cheese, it can work pretty well, as long as you like gooy-melty.

    which I do.

  4. Very droolworthy penne..yumm!

  5. The answer is YES to all of your initial questions. This recipe sounds awesome. pasta rocks my world.

  6. @Please Do Not Feed the Animals: Thanks! For some reason, olives usually tend to find their way into many of the sauces made in my house.

    @Becky: Oooh, yes! Chicken would be a lovely addition.

    @Drackar: Hmmmmm, I suppose it could work, since isn't string cheese supposed to be mozzarella?

    @Priya: Thank you!

    @Kay Heritage: Thanks!

    @Damaris: Pasta is amazing! haha Thanks! :)

  7. Koci-Love your originality of the pasta sauce with the green olives, also the photos as well. Look absolutely delish!


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