Simple Pasta

A simple pasta upon which you can build your own complexities.



  • 250g (half a 500g bag) of Penne or whatever your favourite pasta is.
  • 1 tsp of dried basil
  • 1 tsp of olive extra virgin olive oil


  • you can use any herb here, such as thyme or oregano


  • 1 tsp of dried basil
  • 2 tbsp of olive olive oil
  • a pinch of black pepper (or use about 5 pepper seeds and grind them in a mortar and pestle)
  • 1 medium-sized red pepper
  • 2 medium-sized brown onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes (can have herbs added but don't use the ones with garlic added - the garlic hasn't been fried)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of salt


  • use oregano instead of, or as well as the basil.
  • use a green pepper instead of a red one.
  • add sliced mushrooms once the onions have cooked.
  • add chopped chillies when you add the pepper.
  • when you add the chopped tomatoes, add some pulses such as butter beans or chick peas.
  • Add some tomato puree or sun-dried tomatoes for a different flavour.



In a large pan, add 1.5 litres of boiling water. Add the basil and let it boil for a minute to soak the basil.

Add the oil and the pasta, put on the lid and bring to the boil.
Onions and peppers. The wooden thing is a spurtle - far superior to a spoon
Onions and peppers. The wooden thing is
a spurtle - far superior to a spoon

Once it is boiling, put it on a low light and let it simmer.

Start making the sauce now and they should be ready about the same time.


In another pan, add the oil, the basil and the black pepper. Heat up to release the herb and spice aromatic oils into the olive oil.

Add the chopped pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.

Once it has started to soften, add the onion and the garlic.

Finished sauce
Finished sauce
Fry for a few minutes and then add around 50-100mls (2-4Floz) of water and put the lid on.

Let it simmer until the onion has softened.

Add the tins of chopped tomatoes and the salt.

Bring to the boil and then turn off the heat and put the lid on.

Ready for the lunch box
Ready for the lunch box
Once the pasta is ready, drain off the water - don't worry about the herbs and oil - and add to the sauce.

Divide into three lunchboxes and that is all there is to it.

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