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In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook penne until just short of al dente, about 1 minute less than the package recommends.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, combine oil, garlic, and pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat until garlic is very lightly golden, about 5 minutes. (Adjust heat as necessary to keep it gently sizzling.)
Add tomatoes, stir to combine, and bring to a bare simmer. When pasta is ready, transfer it to sauce using a strainer or slotted spoon. (Alternatively, drain pasta through a colander, reserving 1 cup of cooking water. Add drained pasta to sauce.)
Add about 1/4 cup pasta water to sauce and increase heat to bring pasta and sauce to a vigorous simmer. Cook, stirring and shaking the pan and adding more pasta water as necessary to keep sauce loose, until pasta is perfectly al dente, 1 to 2 minutes longer. (The pasta will cook more slowly in the sauce than it did in the water.)
Continue cooking pasta until sauce thickens and begins to coat noodles, then remove from heat and toss in cheese and parsley, stirring vigorously to incorporate. Stir in a drizzle of fresh olive oil, if desired. Season with salt and serve right away, passing more cheese at the table.