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pasta tongs twisting spaghetti in skillet
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5 from 3 votes

Pasta Pomodoro

Pasta Al Pomodoro is an incredibly simple dish, but there's a few tips and tricks to bringing out the best in this sauce!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 632kcal
Cost: £1.50 / $2


  • Blender or Food Processor
  • Large Skillet & Wooden Spoon
  • Large Pot & Pasta Tongs
  • Large Baking Tray
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Fine Cheese Grater


  • 1lb / 500g Long Cut Pasta (here I use linguine, Spaghetti also works great)
  • 2lb / 1kg good quality Tomatoes, halved (here I use vine-ripened tomatoes)
  • 1 packed cup Fresh Basil Leaves (approx 1oz/30g)
  • 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more to serve
  • 1/3 cup / 30g freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to serve
  • 1/4 cup / 65g Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
  • 3-4 cloves of Garlic, left in skins
  • 1 medium White Onion, finely diced
  • Salt & Pepper, as needed


  • Place tomato halves flesh side up and season with a generous helping of salt and pepper. Drizzle with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and flip over. Throw on 3-4 cloves of garlic, then roast in the oven at 390F/200C for 25-30mins, or until the tomatoes begin to wilt and char. Roast at a lower temp for a longer period of time for a more intense, sweet flavour. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out the garlic from the skins.
  • Add pasta to heavily salted boiling water and cook until al dente.
  • Meanwhile in a large pan over medium heat add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add onion and fry until soft and beginning to brown. Add in 1/4 cup tomato puree/paste and fry it off for 1-2mins. Scrape everything into a blender and pour in the tomatoes & garlic (with the juices).
  • Pop the lid on, leave the hole at the top open and pop a clean tea towel over the top. Pulse until smooth, then add in basil leaves and pulse a little longer until they dice into small shards.
  • Pour sauce back into the pan and turn the heat to a low. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper (season well to bring out the best in this simple sauce), give it a stir for a couple of minutes to allow the air bubbles to burst, then start transferring the pasta straight from the pot into the sauce, using the excess pasta water it brings with it to emulsify the sauce. Toss the pasta to coat, using a dash more starchy pasta water if needed to bring everything together.
  • Sprinkle over parmesan and give it one final toss. Serve individual portions with another sprinkling of parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.



a) Tomatoes and Oil - Because both of these make up a good portion of the sauce, I recommend investing in some good quality tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. It's a simple sauce so this really will make all the difference!
b) Starchy Pasta Water - Important that your pasta water is heavily seasoned so you don't dilute the flavour of the sauce. Also important to make sure you scoop out the pasta water at the very end so it's nice and starchy. The starch molecules will help emulsify the oil in the sauce.
c) Make Ahead - If you want to make this ahead of time I recommend just making the sauce, then cooking up the pasta just before serving and stirring it through. It tends to dry up if you make the whole thing ahead of time. The sauce will last a good 4-5days if tightly sealed in the fridge (longer at your discretion).
d) To serve - Because it's quite a light sauce I usually serve this for lunch, but you could add garlic bread (or cheesy garlic bread or pesto garlic bread) and to bulk it out more for a dinner!
e) Calories - Whole thing divided by 4 with no extra parmesan/oil:


Calories: 632kcal | Carbohydrates: 98.25g | Protein: 19.79g | Fat: 18.04g | Saturated Fat: 3.526g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.397g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10.711g | Trans Fat: 0.079g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 169mg | Potassium: 874mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 10.21g | Vitamin A: 2287IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 4.76mg