Pasta Pomodoro

Pasta and tomato sauce: not exactly revolutionary. It's a combination favored universally for its ease of preparation, if not, in these recession-weary times, for its frugality — what could be simpler than boiling a fistful of dried spaghetti and dumping in a jar of sauce at the end? Other than slapping together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, not much.

Would you guess, then, the radical, disarming potential that this dish has when both the pasta and the sauce are homemade instead of thrown in the pot straight from the packaging? Considering this pasta pomodoro is made from only six ingredients, it's remarkable just how different it tastes from the store-bought version: rich, concentrated, full of natural sweetness, unadulterated even with onion or garlic. It's a pure distillation of a late summer tomato. The pasta too, when made fresh, is tender and toothsome, and it wears its ruby sauce with panache.

Sure, there's no question that more effort is required when making both components from scratch. But the result is incomparably better, so much so that it might as well be another dish entirely.


Note: You can always use fresh, store-bought pasta instead of making your own and cook it the same way.


For the pasta

  • 1 cup flour
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the pomodoro sauce

  • 15 plum or Roma tomatoes, blanched and skinned
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup reserved pasta cooking water
  • Basil, to garnish


Calories Per Serving705

Folate equivalent (total)97µg24%

Riboflavin (B2)0.2mg12.7%


Step 1

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until soft, 10–12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Increase heat to medium, add puréed tomatoes, and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and flavors have come together, 20–25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

Step 2

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente (about 2 minutes before it would be done). Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.

Step 3

As soon as pasta is ready, pluck out and discard basil. Set skillet over high heat and stir in reserved pasta cooking liquid to loosen sauce bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add butter and Parmesan and toss until butter and cheese are melted. Divide pasta among bowls.

How would you rate Pasta al Pomodoro?

So good! Will definitely make again! I pureed the tomato sauce again before I put the basil in, to make sure the sauce was smooth and didn't have any chunks of onion/garlic. It came together quickly on a weeknight and my boyfriend and roommate both loved it! Simple but delicious flavours.

Excellent recipe. Simple but delicious. Pair with green salad tossed with balsamic dressing and you have a nice evening meal.

One of the best pasta dishes I have ever made. Used tomato basil passata that I bought from an Italian import store instead of pureeing the tomatoes myself.

This is the best dang pasta recipe ever - it's like RESTAURANT QUALITY. It's super delicious, probably terribly unhealthy, and impresses all who taste it. I've made this a few times and have switched over to buying pureed tomatoes/tomato pulp because it's just as good and requires less clean-up. So glad I found this recipe - now I like making red sauce at home!

Very good, sauce became sweet after cooking with onions and garlic. I puréed the sauce before adding it to the pasta to make it smoother (feeding a 2.5 year old over here) added chopped kale and chickpeas with the pasta for extra nutrition. Delicious! The whole family enjoyed it.

Easy Pasta Pomodoro

Pasta Pomodoro is the perfect Italian dish. Made with a thick and smooth sauce that has a great mix of fresh ingredients, it’s tossed with buttered pasta and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. The mix of sweet tomatoes, al dente pasta, and salty cheese make this dish a winner. It’s also convenient because you can prep the sauce ahead of time and store it for days in the fridge, or months in the freezer. It’s easy, tasty, and satisfying. You have to give this easy Pasta Pomodoro a try!

Add a small handful of kosher salt to a pot of boiling water, then drop in the pasta. The noodles absorb water, so you’re actually seasoning the interior of an otherwise bland pasta. For this recipe, you’ll cook the noodles until they’re about 2 minutes from being totally done.

Don’t dump the pasta water! Starchy, salty pasta water is the secret ingredient in most sauces. Save 1/2 cup of the pasta water for tossing with the pasta and sauce later in the prep process.

Heat olive oil in a skillet, and then sauté onion and garlic.

Then you’ll add in red pepper flakes, puréed tomatoes, kosher salt and fresh basil.

You’ll add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce to loosen it up a bit. Then you’ll use tongs to pick up a noodle to test for doneness and then to transfer the noodles from pot to pan and toss the noodles in the sauce. Then you’ll cook the noodles in the sauce for about 2 minutes.

And finally, you’ll add some butter and Parmesan cheese to the pan to complete your Pasta Pomodoro.

The butter and the cheese will melt into the sauce to create the silky texture that you’re looking for. It’s delicious!

Here are some things that Bon Appetit recommends for making the perfect pasta sauce:

  • Forget the pot- use a pan (what the pros do to cook almost-done pasta and sauce together- until there’s pomodoro clinging to every bite of pasta.)
  • Build the foundation– Make a classic pan sauce with olive oil, garlic, vegetables and pasta water.
  • Work the saute pan: Undercook the pasta by a couple of minutes, then finish cooking it in a saute pan with the sauce’s flavorful liquid.
  • Everything’s better with butter: The secret to rich and silky sauces is extra fat. Finish your sauce with olive oil, butter or both.
  • Cheese is not just a garnish: Enrich the sauce with cheese (mixed in and melted), skip pre-grated cheese, grate it finely and think beyond Parmesan.
  • It should look as good as it tastes: a well designed pasta bowl makes for a beautiful presentation- a broad bowl w/ high sides keeps the pasta warm, and a white bowl makes the colors in the sauce pop.
  • Practice makes perfect pasta– step by step cheat sheet: salt pasta water, saute vegetables for sauce, pour (reserved water onto vegetables), transfer pasta to pan with sauce, add more pasta water to sauce, stir in butter, sprinkle in fresh herbs, toss and plate.

And there’s your perfect Pasta Pomodoro- hot pasta noodles with the best, simple-to-make sauce ever. Enjoy!

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 stalks celery, with leaves, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Stir the diced tomatoes, celery, carrots, sweet onion, garlic, tomato paste, water, red wine, sage, basil, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper together in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook the sauce at a simmer until the carrots are tender, about 1 hour.

Pour the sauce into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway. Hold the lid of the blender in place with a towel and carefully start the blender using a few quick pulses to get the sauce moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a clean container. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the sauce in the pot.


Love this recipe! Ive made it several times and like other reviewers added 1 tbsp tomato paste, carrots, 1/4 cup white wine and it's DEVINE!

Delicious and easy. Made as is but added about 1/4 cup of white wine (didn’t have any red). Made it with homemade ricotta gnudi. Perfect!

This was AMAZING. I mostly followed the recipe, but made a couple tweaks. I deglazed the pan with white wine, and crushed the tomatoes by hand, leaving some chunks for texture. I sliced the basil and left it in the sauce rather than discarding it. I left out the parmesan cheese and next time would half or leave out the butter entirely. I felt that the richness of the tomato flavour was lost a bit with the addition of butter. That being said, my family ADORED it with the butter, so to each their own!

My son and I made the sauce with fresh tomatoes instead of canned. The sauce was delicious.

I have had some seriously medical problems over the holidays. I haven’t had the appetite because of medication but obviously need to get my strength back. Then O was told to eat a low fiber diet. Great I love pasta, but don’t really feel like cooking. I ordered the Pomadora Spaghetti from Carrabba’s for the first time and loved it. I can’t afford to order out so I looked up a sauce and found this. So quick, easy and so delicious. My daughter, who usually doesn’t like pasta unless it’s baked just loved this one. I loved it as leftovers for lunch too. I will make this quite often. Also very inexpensive to make. Perfect pasta!

I was bored of my usual tomato sauce so I decided to give this a try. It was perfect! I grated the onion. I used a cheap can of pureed tomatoes because it's what I had on hand, so I added a few pieces of carrot while it simmered and took them out before adding the pasta. I will use San Marzano tomatoes next time, but it was really good with the cheap stuff. I did completely forget the butter and didn't feel like it was missing, but that might be because of the carrots. I served with Italian sausage and it was perfect together.

We love this and I now regularly make it, following the recipe as written, with one change. I only use 8 ounces of pasta instead of 12. I find using the 12 ounces makes it too dry. The bucatini pasta really works well too. It is worth paying extra to get San Mariano tomatoes and that is all I use. Sometimes I make turkey meatballs and place 3 or 4 on top when serving.

Tastes very authentic - reminds me of my favorite Pasta Pomodoro experiences in Italy. So easy - I make it often!

I am not a great red sauce cook. I try. Never have tried the same recipe twice. this one will be in my rotation. Simple ingredients, instructions & great results. I love how fast it comes together and it has controlable heat based on how many or few red pepper flakes you add. First time I left them out for serving the work crowd. Since it isn't an all day cooking sauce it still has a brighter tomato flavor. Mild enough to let other sides of meat or veggies shine but really great as just a pasta, sauce & cheese meal. As mentioned Do not omit the butter☺

One of my favs. I make it often. Easy, quick and delicious.

I'm always seeking out the ultimate italian red sauce (and fried chicken). This is one of the best I've tried. Great flavor. Simple with depth of flavor.

I have made this several times and it is great. It is very easy to make - I have done it on several week nights. It makes for a very elegant (even romantic) dinner. The key is to make sure you really mince the onion and garlic. When you do, it melts into the sauce and makes for a flavorful sauce. And don't skimp on the butter - it makes it so silky!

I thought this was a brilliant pasta sauce, simple and satisfying. I didn't cut back on oil or butter, it's meatless so why bother ? The butter makes it. I had to resist the urge to throw other things in like oregano, mushrooms etc but I'm glad I did resist, it didn't need any of that and canned tomatoes have a deeper flavour than fresh in my opinion, wouldn't bother with fresh unless they were really amazing tomatoes !

This is just the basic tomato sauce recipe that I have been making for the past 24 years (learned it living in Nice, France, also famous for it's pasta). But really, I don't see why you should add butter to the sauce. Of course, butter makes most food taste better. But the tomato sauce is delicious without it. So why add unnecessary calories & cholesterol?

This has become a go-to recipe for me. I make it all the time. It's simple but delicious just as it is. I want to try it with fresh tomatoes but am happy with canned tomato results as well.

These are a few tips for making the best pasta pomodoro like the one we eat in Italy. At the end of the day, the secret to the best pasta pomodoro recipe is in the little details and we Italians literally know how to make little details become a huge thing when cooking.

  1. First, make sure you use quality ingredients. I cannot say this enough: good ingredients are the basic for this pasta and they are the only way to prepare a delicious sauce everyone will love
  2. You can use canned San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes or you can go for ripe tomatoes. Make sure to use one or the other, nothing else for your tomato sauce (most of all, do not use store bought pasta Sauces)
  3. You can use whatever type of pasta you like: traditionally, in Italy we use spaghetti but you can also use short pasta, especially if this pasta pomodoro is meant for kids
  4. Do not use butter to add richness to the pasta: not only it’s not necessary, it’s not even something you’ll find in Italy. Stick to the original Italian pasta pomodoro recipe or… don’t call it a pasta pomodoro
  5. Ideally, your sauce should cook for one hour so to be extra flavourful. You can cook your sauce for less time, but once you’ve tried the real and original Italian tomato sauce I doubt you will do something differently
  6. Do not serve this pasta pomodoro with a side of green salad or garlic bread: pasta is meant to be eaten alone, with no bread and no salad. And this pasta pomodoro recipe has to be enjoyed for what it is, in the way we Italians enjoy it
  7. If you choose to add some cheese, make sure it’s original Parmesan cheese: this is not necessary because the original Italian recipe doesn’t call for it, but if you want just sprinkle some Parmesan after having plated the pasta.

Capellini Pomodoro

This filling, simple recipe for angel hair pasta with a fresh tomato basil sauce is purported to be similar to the one served at the Olive Garden chain of restaurants. Many agree that this take on the classic Italian dish is very similar—if not an exact clone—to the famous restaurant's version. But no matter the origin and similarity in flavor to other pasta dishes, this easy pasta meal is a great weeknight dinner for busy families. It's ready in less than 30 minutes and the ingredients could be sitting in your cupboard right now. The thin texture of the pasta is the perfect accompaniment to the fruity, fragrant sauce, while a handful of tangy and salty Parmesan tops the dish.

Capellini ("little hairs" in Italian) and angel hair pasta are similar products but are sold under different names. The first is, obviously, of Italian origin, and the latter is the English denomination for it. The thickness of the pasta is also similar, with the angel hair slightly thinner. For our recipe, you could use either one.

The recipe calls for canned tomatoes, but use fresh tomatoes if you have some at hand. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread.

Step 1: Prep the Tomatoes

Start the spaghetti pomodoro by roughly chopping ripe tomatoes – no need to peel.

Tomato Storage Tip: store tomatoes on the counter, stem side down to keep them fresher longer.

You also don’t need to seed the tomatoes – add them seeds, juices, and all to a large bowl then set aside.

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