An easy pomodoro sauce recipe to impress your family and friends!
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…
I wish I could go back and eat this exact lunch again!
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. Trust me, store bought sauces can’t compare to the flavor you get from starting with a fresh tomato. It’s the best!
The first way to make it easier? Crush your tomatoes with your hands or a potato masher – or just throw them 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 😉
If you can’t find good fresh tomatoes, you could use canned San Marzano tomatoes (or something similar).
Next, you’ll want to grate or mince 2 big cloves of garlic and cook in olive oil. Once the garlic aroma fills your home, add the tomato puree to the saucepan over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil (a very low boil, nothing crazy!). Then lower the heat and let it reduce for about 20-30 minutes. You’ll see the tomato sauce thicken in consistency and become a darker red color as it cooks. SO pretty! At that point, reduce heat until your pasta is ready and add a handful of freshly chopped basil. Italians use a lot of fresh herbs, but stick with basil for this pasta sauce!
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 red sauce like this!
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. You could also add some red pepper flakes if you like a little spice, but honestly it doesn’t really need it.
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?
- 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!
The sundried tomatoes are totally optional - just a fun little extra detail!
Want to remember this Pomodoro sauce recipe?
*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!