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Pasta al Pomodoro is Simple and Satisfying

Skyler Mapes and Giuseppe Morisani, owners of EXAU Olive Oil, share a recipe for pasta and tomatoes from their new book, "The Olive Oil Enthusiast."

By Skyler Mapes & Giuseppe Morisani

9:00 AM EDT on August 8, 2023

a photograph of Pasta al Pomodoro.

Pasta al Pomodoro. Photo by Sophia Cotto.

This Pasta al Pomodoro recipe is for the folks who love super creamy pasta sauce. But it doesn’t actually have any cream, and if you ask us, that’s the way most pasta sauce should be. Pasta al Pomodoro is always best in the summer when cherry tomatoes are at their peak. We at EXAU created this recipe one summer when we were craving a tomato sauce with a smooth texture and decided to whir the sauce in the blender. Other simple, healthy, delicious recipes such as this can be found in our new book, The Olive Oil Enthusiast.

Pasta al Pomodoro

Pasta al Pomodoro

Recipe by Skyler Mapes and Giuseppe Morisani
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: Main, pastaCuisine: Italian


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 4 tablespoons 4 extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing

  • 3 3 garlic cloves, smashed or roughly chopped

  • 1 1 peperoncino calabrese (fresh Calabrian spicy pepper; Fresno chile or mild serrano will work), roughly chopped (optional)

  • 1-1/4 1-1/4 pounds cherry tomatoes (the sweeter the better), halved

  • 6 6 basil leaves

  • 3/4 3/4 pound spaghetti

  • 1/4 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano


  • Heat a large saucepan over medium-low heat for 20 seconds.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, 2 of the garlic cloves, and the peperoncino (if using) and cook until the garlic turns slightly blond, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to high and immediately add the tomatoes.
  • Decrease the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tomatoes melt into a sauce, stirring every 5 minutes.
  • Off the heat, use an immersion blender or standard blender to puree the tomatoes into a smooth sauce.
  • Return the pan to the stove, add the basil, and continue to cook the sauce over low heat for 15 minutes or until reduced by one-fourth.
  • Heat a large pan over low heat for 20 seconds.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining garlic clove and cook until the garlic turns slightly blond, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Once the water is boiling, add salt (the water should taste salty), then add the pasta and cook until 2 to 3 minutes before the pasta is al dente.
  • When the pasta is almost ready, add a ladle of pasta water to the pan with the garlic and bring it to a boil.
  • Using tongs, transfer the pasta to the pan.
  • Cook for 1 minute, adding more pasta water as needed.
  • Add the tomato sauce and cook, stirring continuously and adding more pasta water as needed, for another 2 minutes or until the pasta reaches your desired texture.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano.
  • Immediately divide the pasta among four plates and serve with a teaspoon of oil drizzled over each portion.

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