Spaghetti with pomodoro sauce is the epitome of Italian cuisine. Enjoy al dente spaghetti coated in homemade tomato sauce, infused with basil and a hint (okay, more than a hint if you do it right) of garlic – a simple yet satisfying dish. Enhance the experience by pairing it with a medium-bodied Italian red wine like Sangiovese. This choice complements the tomato’s acidity without overpowering the rest of the flavors, striking a perfect balance. A simple way to savor the flavors of Italy, right from your own kitchen.
Pomodoro Sauce: An Italian Staple
I learned recently that the word pomodoro actually comes from pomo d’oro, meaning “golden apple” in Italian. Regardless of the word’s origin, pomodoro – or pomodori – have been essential to Italian cooking for centuries. Food history buffs will know that tomatoes actually didn’t arrive in Italy until after the fall of the Roman Empire. Nonetheless, I’d say Italians have sufficiently staked their claim on the tomato and I’ll gladly let them.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of tomato season, but a simple pomodoro pasta sauce is one of my favorites. It’s also an inexpensive, time-efficient meal that you can always throw together at a moment’s notice. I also love to freestyle this recipe depending on my mood and what I have available. As long as you have olive oil, tomatoes, basil, and seasoning, you have sauce! You can experiment with the ratios and just feel into it. You can also go for other pasta shapes if you’re looking to change things up from a classic spaghetti. Nothing beats the feeling of the flow of cooking down a pomodoro sauce, glass of wine in hand, seasoning by tasting as you go.
Wine Pairing Suggestion: Sangiovese
The beauty of this traditional pasta dish is that you actually have quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to wine pairing. If you’re cooking this sauce up for an al fresco summer lunch, you could do a bright, unoaked white wine. Throw a chill on that bottle and you have a refreshing pairing. Alternatively, for dinner and in general, a medium-bodied red wine with some acidity is ideal for pasta al pomodoro. I specifically recommend a Sangiovese, the Tuscan grape used for Chianti. This wine will complement the high acidity of the tomato sauce without overpowering the other flavors in the dish. If you want to break out of Chianti, look for a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Montepulciano is Italy’s second most planted red grape variety after Sangiovese, so it’s definitely worth trying if you haven’t already!
Looking for more summer pasta inspo? Try this Pasta with Carrot Top Pesto and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.Print
Somehow, a classic spaghetti with pomodoro sauce and basil never gets old. This pasta dish tastes like summer and immediately sends me to Italy (if I’m not already physically there). Break out of your jarred tomato sauce rut and learn to make a simple yet delicious pomodoro sauce to elevate this basic dish.
- 400 g fresh spaghetti pasta, or roughly 4 servings
- 1 can (400 g) peeled tomatoes OR
- 400 g fresh cherry tomatoes (or even just toss a small handful of fresh cherry tomatoes in with the canned)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (at least; I always go heavy on the garlic)
- Handful of fresh basil
- Salt, black pepper, and chili flakes, to taste
- Parmesan, freshly grated for serving
- Optional: burrata for some added oomph
- In a medium saucepan, heat half of the olive oil over medium-low.
- Add minced garlic and allow it to simmer over low heat for about 1 minute, or less if it starts turning a golden color quickly.
- Carefully add your canned tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes. Allow them to cook down and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring periodically. Then, smash them with the spatula or spoon (this is very satisfying!).
- Add salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste along with the remaining olive oil, stirring consistently to mix in the oil well. Allow the sauce to cook for another 15 minutes.
- While the tomatoes are cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water generously.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- DO NOT DRAIN THE PASTA. Instead, transfer the cooked spaghetti to the pomodoro sauce pan using tongs. Add a small ladleful of pasta water to the sauce along with it. Toss to coat the pasta.
- Add in a handful of basil leaves, just allowing them enough time in the pan to wilt slightly.
- Plate spaghetti, and add a half of a ball of burrata if you wish. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with some freshly crack pepper and serve!
- Serving sizes are all estimates; it will depend on how sauce-y you want your pasta to be and how much pasta you consider to be a “serving”
Keywords: pomodoro sauce, tomato sauce, marinara, spaghetti, summer, pasta, italian