Everyone needs an easy Spaghetti Pomodoro recipe up their sleeves. Simple, fresh, and delicious on its own. Or you can pair it with whatever main dish you’ve got in store. It’s just a versatile dish and a handy recipe to know. Everyone, everyone, enjoys a spaghetti pomodoro.
In addition, there’s just a little something, perhaps nostalgia, about spaghetti pomodoro. For me, it reminds me of childhood, small hands messily grabbing the tomato sauce-coated spaghetti and smearing it all over the face. It’s certainly something that evokes an endearing feeling. Sentiments aside,
The key to a good Pomodoro is fresh and good-quality tomato passata. Tomato Passata basically is pureed and strained tomatoes. They are usually sold in jars and comes in a thicker consistency than tinned chopped tomatoes. Italy, especially in the central and southern regions, is known to produce some high-quality tomatoes so an Italian brand is always a trustworthy one to opt for. It would be half the job done to get that beautifully mild and sweet flavour of the Pomodoro.
How to make Spaghetti Pomodoro
- Spaghetti – or any other pasta shape you like
- Garlic, Onion – the aromatics
- Red Chilli Flakes – just to give a little tease to the palate
- Tomato Paste – to enhance the tomato flavour
- Tomato Passata – the tomato sauce base
- Fresh Basil – for garnish
- Salt & Black Pepper – for seasoning
- Butter, Pasta Water – to help the sauce bind to the pasta
- Parmesan Cheese – for topping
Using tomato passata would be the preferred choice over tinned chopped tomatoes in this recipe. But if you must, you can swap that around. However, you’d have to double the cooking time in order for the chopped tomatoes to break down and thicken up into a smooth rich sauce.
Additionally, tinned chopped tomatoes tend to carry more watered down liquid so it may lack flavour compared to tomato passata which is just pureed and strained tomatoes.
As we touched upon above, the quality of tomatoes plays a big part in the recipe. To help to really bring out the flavours, a pinch of sugar would do the trick. In terms of how much sugar to add, that would depend on the tomatoes themselves. For example, if the tomatoes you use is more on the acidic end, you may need a bigger pinch of sugar to cut through the acidity. On the other hand, if the tomatoes are super fresh and carry plenty of natural sweetness, you’d need less sugar.
The purpose of reserving pasta water is to (1) loosen up the sauce, (2) help the pasta sauce to bind with the pasta, and (3) to allow the salted pasta water to lend some savoury flavour to the sauce.
Butter helps to bind the sauce to the pasta and to give the sauce a silky touch!
The flavour of the fresh basil is a delicate one. Its flavour is best when fresh, and unlike other herbs, doesn’t work well if you let it cook in the sauce for too long. The delicate nature of basil means its flavours break down easily in heat and could turn bitter in taste. That’s why it’s best to add it at the end of cooking for maximum flavour.
Easy Spaghetti Pomodoro
- 250 g Spaghetti
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 cloves Garlic finely chopped
- ½ tsp Chilli Flakes optional
- ½ large Onion finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 300 g Tomato Passata
- ½ tsp Salt to taste
- ½ tsp Black Pepper to taste
- 8-10 g Fresh Basil
- ½-1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Butter
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook garlic and chilli flakes for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.4 cloves Garlic, ½ tsp Chilli Flakes, 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- Add in onions and saute for 10-15 minutes until golden and softened.½ large Onion
- Season with salt & black pepper. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes until starting to deepen in colour.1 tbsp Tomato Paste, ½ tsp Salt, ½ tsp Black Pepper
- Stir tomato passata. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes until slightly thickened.300 g Tomato Passata, 8-10 g Fresh Basil
- In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil and season generously with salt. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve ¼-⅓ cup of Pasta Water.250 g Spaghetti
- Stir in butter and a pinch of sugar. Cook until the butter has melted into the sauce.½-1 tsp Sugar, 1 tbsp Butter
- Toss in cooked pasta, together with a splash of reserved pasta water.
- Add the fresh basil and top pasta with Parmesan Cheese. Serve immediately.8-10 g Fresh Basil
- Italian tomato varieties/brands would be a good pick for good quality tomatoes for the recipe.
- Tomato Passata is preferred for the recipe due to its smoother texture. If using tinned chopped tomatoes, you’ll have to double the simmering time in order for the chopped tomatoes to break down into a thick sauce. The flavours in tinned chopped tomatoes also tend to be less intense than that in tomato passata.
- Add fresh basil only at the end of the cooking process. Otherwise, basil has a tendency to turn bitter when being cooked for too long.
- The butter and reserved pasta water help the sauce to bind with the pasta.