Pasta al Pomodoro

pasta pomodoro

I don’t know if anyone subscribes to Bon Appetit, but May’s issue had a KILLER cover picture. It was just a simple pasta pomodoro, but it looked A-MAY-ZING. After wiping the drool from my chin, I decided I had to make it. I really think I’m the only person who loves a simple spaghetti with red sauce… However, since my kitchen was in pieces at that time, I marked the recipe page and went along with my life. A couple of days ago, I was cleaning and was elated to stumble upon that magazine again. Realizing I already had all of the ingredients it called for, I immediately got to work.

The May issue was packed with all kinds of “secrets” to making perfect pasta. Things most people know, like adding salt to your pasta water, reserving some of the pasta’s cooking water for your sauce, and adding cheese to your sauce (not just on top of it). It also had some new tips, like using a skillet instead of a large pan, adding butter when you toss the pasta, and finishing the pasta for the last couple minutes in the sauce, so that it absorbs the flavor of the sauce while it finishes cooking.


The recipe isn’t anything mind-blowing, just another simple (but enjoyable) pasta sauce recipe. It actually doesn’t vary a whole lot from my current pasta sauce recipe, but I just couldn’t help myself.

We used bowtie pasta (per BF’s request) instead of spaghetti or bucatini. I also feel bad whenever I eat an entree that is void of protein, so I seared some chicken breasts, chopped them up, and added them to the sauce while it simmered. Topped with freshly-grated parmesan and pecorino, this pasta was easy to make and a delight to eat.

Pasta al Pomodoro – from Bon Appetit


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes, puréed
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 large fresh basil sprigs
  • 12 oz. pasta
  • 2 Tbsp. cubed unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino (I used both)
  • 1 – 2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed or shredded* (optional)
  1. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-low heat. Add minced onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 2-4 minutes. (Make sure it doesn’t burn- burned garlic is bitter!!) Add crushed red pepper flakes and continue to cook another minute.
  2. Increase heat to medium and add puréed tomatoes and season lightly with kosher salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and the flavors meld, about 20 minutes.** (see tips) Remove pan from heat, stir in basil sprigs, and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, cook your pasta! Bring water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook. Remove 2 minutes before tender and drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
  4. Discard basil and heat skillet over high heat. Stir in reserved pasta water to loosen sauce and bring it to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add butter and cheese; toss until cheese melts


*Purchase canned, whole tomatoes and puree them before adding them to your sauce. You can puree your tomatoes in the food processor, with a food mill, or an immersion blender.

*You can add your chicken at step 2 (while it simmers) or step 3 (when you add the pasta). Adding it earlier will result in it absorbing more of the flavor from the sauce, though.

*While my pasta simmers, I cover it with aluminum foil or parchment with a hole cut out- allowing the sauce to be able to reduce without making a huge tomato-y mess on my stove and counter.