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Jamie Oliver’s Classic Tomato Spaghetti

Classic Tomato Spaghetti from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Collection. This is a great midweek, vegetarian dinner. It will be a hit with any pasta lover, and is super simple to make on short notice.


This is a fantastic midweek meal. Once you’ve made this a few times you can add other simple ingredients, such as baby spinach, chopped rocket leaves, or fresh or frozen peas, to your basic tomato sauce to completely transform it.

Jamie’s Top Tip: It’s important to season the cooking water with salt before you start so that the pasta can absorb it as it cooks.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Jamie is urging all of us to cook for our lives. This recipe is one of Jamie’s 10 Food Revolution recipes that together can teach us all the skills we need to feed ourselves and our families good, nutritious food for years to come. For all 10 recipes go to and celebrate the power of fresh, healthy, real food.

Recipe © Jamie Oliver. Photo © James Lyndsay

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1 bunch of fresh basil
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
1kg ripe tomatoes or 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
olive oil
1 tbsp red wine or balsamic vinegar
480g dried wholewheat spaghetti
15g Parmesan cheese
Equipment needed:
Chopping board
Large saucepan
Measuring spoons
Wooden spoon
Large pot
Fine grater


Pick the basil leaves (reserving a few baby leaves to garnish), then roughly chop the remaining leaves and finely chop the stalks.

Peel and nely slice the onion and garlic. If using fresh, cut the tomatoes in half, then roughly chop them or open the tins of tomatoes.

Put a saucepan on a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil and the onion, then cook for around 7 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden.

Stir in the garlic and basil stalks for a few minutes, then add the fresh or tinned tomatoes and the vinegar.

Season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then continue cooking for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the chopped basil leaves, then reduce to low and leave to tick away. Meanwhile…

Bring a large pot of salted water up to the boil, then add the spaghetti and cook according to packet instructions – you want to cook your pasta until it is al dente. This translates as ‘to the tooth’ and means that it should be soft enough to eat, but still have a bit of a bite and firmness to it. Use the timings on the packet instructions as a guide, but try some just before the time is up to make sure it’s perfectly cooked.

Once the pasta is done, ladle out and reserve a cup of the cooking water and keep it to one side, then drain in a colander or sieve over the sink.

Add a splash of pasta water to the sauce if it’s a bit thick. Tip in the spaghetti and use tongs to toss well, adding a splash of the pasta water to loosen, if needed.

Serve with the reserved basil leaves sprinkled over the top and nely grate over the Parmesan cheese.


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