*This post was sponsored by Barilla, but (as always) all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that make Lake Shore Lady possible!
Earlier this week I attended a lunch with Barilla® Collezione that reminded me just how wonderful a great plate of pasta can be.
In case you missed it on my insta-stories, I had a pretty amazing day on Tuesday. I got to attend a lunch at Spiaggia, hosted by Barilla, with food prepared by Top Chef Winner Joe Flamm. Oh, and we got to eat alongside Mikaela Shiffrin and Roger Federer. I mean… WHAT?! Pinch me! It was definitely one of those days that felt like a total dream.
As someone who has been cooking with Barilla pasta her whole life, it was especially fun to see an Executive Chef of one of Chicago’s most prestigious fine dining restaurants show us how to make a pomodoro sauce with the same pasta that I use all the time! And even though he elevated your traditional pomodoro sauce (he’s a Top Chef after all!), the ingredients remained simple and the heart of the dish was still familiar. He did throw in a pretty cool tip that I’ve never thought of before though, so it’s not EXACTLY like Nana would make it… ?
Our Easier Pomodoro Sauce Recipe
While all of the food was amazing, I am well aware that I’m not capable of recreating the appetizer (Tonno Vitellato – bluefin tuna, crispy capers, and a special aioli) or the dessert (Tutti Frutti – baba, panna cotta, berries, and melon). But pasta is a different story! I was so inspired by Joe’s approach that my friend Kit and I decided to attempt our own Pomodoro Sauce recipe. Just slightly scaled down so we’d actually make it again… and so that you guys would want to make it, too!!
The first way to make it easier? Throw your tomatoes in a food processor and pulse them until they become a thin sauce. Don’t worry about peeling or juicing or any of that stuff. We’ll leave that to the real chefs ?
Next, you’ll want to grate or mince 2 big cloves of garlic and saute that in olive oil. Once the garlic aroma fills your home, add the tomato puree to the pan. Let it reduce over medium/low heat for about 20-30 minutes. You’ll see it thicken in consistency and become a darker red color as it cooks. SO pretty!
And, of course, if you’re going to make a beautiful Italian meal, you should use Barilla’s Collezione pasta, too. Trust me, I’m not just saying this to say it – it really is a step above all of the other pasta options out there. They are made using traditional Italian bronze plates, which create a coarser texture and ridges that the sauce can cling to. Exactly the kind of noodle you want to eat with a pomodoro sauce!
Joe’s Tip for the Perfect Pomodoro
Remember how I told you Joe had a tip I had never thought of before? Well, during his cooking demo, he revealed that he separated the inner meat of the tomatoes from the edges to use in the juicer for the sauce. In order to not be wasteful, he took the tomato “peels” that were leftover and roasted them low and slow. Once they were dried out, he used a microplane grater to grate them over the top for an additional burst of tomato-y goodness.
HOW GENIUS IS THAT?!
Except would any of us actually go through all that trouble at home? I know I probably wouldn’t – but we have a hack! Kit and I realized that he essentially made sun dried tomatoes when he put them in the oven. So we bought some at the grocery store and got our grater out… and it worked! Like really well. As in, I’m adding this detail to every tomato sauce I ever make forever and ever. (Tip: make sure you buy them dry and not in oil!)
And of course, the perfect way to finish a pomodoro sauce is with a little bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Buon Appetito!
Do you have a favorite pomodoro sauce recipe?
If not, what’s your favorite thing to make with pasta? Have you ever tried elevating pasta night with Barilla Collezione?
Also, if you’re free this weekend, be sure check out Barilla’s taste tests and cooking demos at the Laver Cup Fan Village! The event is free, but be sure to register here before you go!
- 1 cup Barilla Collezione penne
- 1 pound medium tomatoes on the vine
- 2 big cloves garlic
- 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped (with more for garnish)
- 2-4 sun dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
- Grated parmigiana Reggiano
- Boil water and cook pasta according to packaged instructions.
- Wash the tomatoes. Take them off the vine and chop each one in half.
- Add to a food processor and pulse until smooth.
- Grate (or mince) 2 cloves of garlic and saute in olive oil until fragrant. Add the tomatoes.
- Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 20-25 minutes. The consistency will thicken and the color will turn from pink to red. Season with salt and pepper.
- When the pasta is just al dente, drain and add it directly to the sauce pan to finish cooking for about 2 minutes.
- Tear basil leaves into the pan and stir to combine.
- Plate each pasta serving.
- Using a microplane, grate sundried tomatoes over each serving.
- Finish with parmesan cheese, and enjoy!