Nonna's Pasta Pomodoro Recipe: This Fresh Italian Recipe Will Make You Happy (Like Grandma) by Ann Marie Patitucci

Nonna's Pasta Pomodoro Recipe: This Fresh Italian Recipe Will Make You Happy (Like Grandma)

Pomodoro means tomato in Italian. Pasta pomodoro, therefore, refers to an Italian dish typically prepared with pasta, olive oil, tomatoes, basil and other fresh ingredients. Pomodoro is intended to be a quick and easy dinner, made with a light sauce. While some pomodoro recipes call for fresh tomatoes, this one includes canned tomatoes, pureed. I appreciate the time saver and the result is still delicious.

The reasons I like this Italian dish? It’s flexible, family-friendly and on the table in 40 minutes. This Italian pasta recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight meal or easy entertaining. To customize, use either a blender or food processor, add a little heat with some red pepper flakes, substitute spaghetti for another pasta, toss in fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, or garnish with extra Parmesan cheese and/or basil.

Serve this easy Italian pasta pomodoro recipe for dinner with a salad and garlic bread.

Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano or Contadina recommended)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I prefer EVOO)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 12 ounces spaghetti, or other pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Puree the whole peeled tomatoes in a food processor or blender. 
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if desired) to the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in the puréed tomatoes and season with salt, to taste.
  3. Cook the sauce until it starts to thicken, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Once the sauce has thickened, stir in the fresh basil.
  4. Boil the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water (don’t forget this important step). Drain the pasta.
  5. Place the spaghetti back in the pot and add the sauce and hot pasta water. Stir until the sauce coats the pasta. Add butter and Parmesan cheese. Toss until the butter and cheese are melted. Put the spaghetti in individual bowls and garnish with basil and Parmesan cheese. 

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I really enjoy your Italian pasta recipes!
Elisa Schmitz
Light, refreshing yet satisfying all at once. Love this recipe, Ann Marie Patitucci ! #yum

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