Red sauce pasta recipe | Italian restaurant style tomato sauce pasta recipe

Italian restaurant style delicious, creamy, tangy cheesy tomato sauce-based red sauce pasta recipe with step by step pictures. Goes well with garlic bread(stuffed or unstuffed) and butter-tossed bread.

Red sauce pasta is a classic tomato sauce-based pasta flavored with Italian herbs and simple spices. Though originated in authentic Italian cuisine and is the most popular dish all over the world. However easy to make at home just with a few simple ingredients.

In Italy, two types of red sauce are used in making pasta, 1. Marinara sauce and 2. Arrabbiata sauce. Marinara sauce is less spicy than Arrabbiata, that is why pasta is generally made with marinara sauce. So what we know as red sauce pasta is actually marinara sauce pasta. As worldwide mostly marinara sauce is used in making this red-colored pasta. As we are not familiar with its original name(Marinara in Italian cuisine) so to the rest of the world, due to its red color this pasta is known as red sauce pasta. In Italian cuisine, the term marinara means a sauce made from ripe tomatoes, onion, and herbs especially served with pasta. So this dish is basically about pasta cooked in a tomato-based sauce.

Basically, fresh tomato puree, onion, garlic, Italian herbs like basil, oregano, and some spicy seasoning like pepper and chili flakes or red chilli powder are used in making this red sauce. And boiled pasta needs to toss in that sauce for making this recipe.

Like other pasta recipes, this red sauce pasta is also made with penne, spaghetti, macaroni, or fusilli too. In short, you may use any type of pasta available in your kitchen or nearby store.

For making this tomato-based sauce, instead of fresh tomato even canned tomatoes or puree also can be used. Though store-bought ready-made pasta sauce is one more option for making instant pasta. But I prefer to use my homemade pasta sauce as it’s not added any preservative or artificial color rather it suits my budget.

Even you may add any veggies like corn, broccoli, zucchini, or bell pepper to this red sauce pasta. Just boiled or tossed the vegetables before adding them to this recipe.

red sauce pasta is served in a white bowl on white plate with raw red ripe tomatoes & penne pasta & sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Like other authentic Italian pasta recipes, this red sauce pasta also follows two steps method. In the first step boil the pasta, prepare the tomato-based marinara sauce and the last step is to cook the boiled pasta in that flavourful spicy red sauce, right?

So initially it seems a little time-consuming, but you may prepare this sauce one or two days before and preserve it in my freezer in an airtight container. So when you prepare this dish, just take out the sauce from the refrigerator and cook the boiled pasta in it.

As even we know all Italian recipes are mostly dominated by their herbs. In the same way, basil is dominating this dish. So if you have a problem with the strong flavor of basil, you may add it a little or may replace it with oregano too. Though I use both for getting an exotic Italian flavor. But you may skip the oregano part if you don’t like more herbs.

As I’m preparing this dish for a long time I can share an important tip with you. Like as per my assumption, to get the best result, here the sauce and pasta ratio must be 2:1. This means we should use double the amount of red sauce gravy than the pasta’s quantity. Then only, the pasta will be completely coated in the sauce. I can assure you this tip will really help you to prepare this recipe like a pro and the taste must be like a restaurant.

Try this red sauce pasta at home and enjoy it with pizzas or bread let me know your feedback about this recipe in the comment section below.

You may try some other Italian recipes from my website

Red sauce pasta recipe | Italian restaurant style tomato sauce pasta recipe

Prep time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins

Total time: 30 mins

Served for: 2 people

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: Italian

Author: Moumita Paul


For boiling pasta

  • 1/2 cup penne pasta
  • 2 cups of water(1 cup = 250 ml)
  • 1 tsp Oil(Olive oil/Vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

For making red pasta sauce

  • 350 gms(7 medium sizes) Tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Onion(finely chopped)
  • 3 tsp Garlic cloves(chopped)
  • 2 tbsp Basil(fresh)/1 tbsp dry Basil
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano(dried or fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper(crushed/powder)
  • 3/4 tsp Chili flakes/Chilli powder
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 2-3 tbsp Olive oil(any Vegetable oil)

How to make red sauce pasta(Italian restaurant style) with step by step pictures

Making red pasta sauce

  • First, take 350 gms(7 medium sizes) of red ripe tomatoes, and wash them 3-4 times.
  • Then take in a bowl, make some slits on the tomatoes and add piping hot water to it.
  • Keep it for 7-8 mins.
adding piping hot water to blanch the 7 medium size fresh red ripe tomatoes
  • Remove the tomatoes from the hot water and peel out their skin. 
blanched tomatoes after peeling skin
  • Then roughly chop the tomatoes and grind them in to make a smooth tomato paste.
fresh homemade tomato puree
  • Now take a pan, and put it on low to medium flame. Let it get hot, then add 2-3 tbsp of olive oil.
  • Once the oil gets hot add 3 tbsp finely chopped onions(red or white no matter) and chopped garlic to it.
frying chopped onion and garlic in hot olive oil to low to medium flame
  • Sauté onion and garlic for 1-2 mins. Garlic should not change its color only just gets soft. Then add 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp dried basil to the pan. And sauté for 30 secs.
add chopped basil leaves to the pan
  • Then add the homemade tomato puree to the pan. Stir it well.
tomato puree is added to the pan
  • Add pepper, chili flakes, or red chilli powder, salt, and oregano to it and sauté it well. Now let boil this sauce in medium flame for 1 min.
dry herbs and seasoning is added to tomato puree gravy
  • Now your creamy, tangy red sauce or marinara sauce is ready. Even you may add more salt or even more chili flakes or chilli powder instead according to your taste.
red pasta sauce or italian marinara sauce is ready

For boiling pasta

  • Now put a vessel with 2 cups of water on medium to high flame. Then add 1/4 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of oil(refined oil or olive oil). Bring the water to a boil.
adding salt and oil to the water
  • Once the water starts boiling add the pasta to the boiling water. Stir it well and let it cook in water.
adding penne pasta to the boiling water
  • Cook the pasta al dente means properly cooked but firm in shape.
  • Or cook it unless easily cut with the knife or fork or while bitten.
  • If you can easily cut it with the knife or fork that indicates it is done. Turn off the heat.
pasta cooked al dente

Cooking pasta in red sauce

  • Strain the pasta and directly put it into the pan where I kept the red sauce aka creamy marinara sauce.
  • Stir it well or give it a good toss 3-4 times. And cook it for 1-2 more mins with a good stir or toss. Turn off the heat.
pasta in red tomato sauce
  • Lastly, add a generous amount of parmesan cheese or even goat cheese to it and mix it well.
added parmesan cheese over red sauce pasta
  • Your authentic Italian-style red sauce pasta is ready to serve. Enjoy it with sandwiches, bread or pizzas.

Tips about this recipe

  • While making the sauce on one gas stove use another one to boil pasta. With this time management process, you may quickly prepare this recipe.
  • Though you may bake it in the microwave by mixing the boiled pasta with sauce and adding parmesan cheese from its top.
  • Never ever use Indian spices in this recipe to keep its authentic Italian flavor.
  • Cook the pasta al dente, overcooking makes it mushy, sticky, broken and totally spoils the taste of this dish.
  • Even you add chicken or prawn or any meat to this recipe.

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Red sauce pasta recipe | pasta with tomato | Italian recipe red sauce pasta
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