Pomodoro sauce is a light and sweet red sauce that’s smoother in texture than your average tomato sauce. Serve it with your favorite pasta, and top with freshly chopped basil and grated parmesan for the ultimate Italian meal.
There’s something to be said for any any pasta sauce that tastes so good you end up eating with abandon.
In the process of cooking (and eating) pomodoro sauce over the years, I’ve ruined more than a few white t-shirts with sauce splatter.
Worth it? With flavor like this… Yes, I think so.
What is Pomodoro Sauce?
Pomodoro sauce is a classic Italian tomato sauce typically served with pasta. This blended sauce is smooth without any of the chunky properties you might find in other traditional pasta sauces.
Drop the word pomodoro into Google Translate, and the result you get is simply ‘tomato.’ And that makes sense. The flavor of this homemade Italian pasta sauce is the tomato in all it’s garden fresh glory.
It has a a simple ingredients and a comparatively short cooking time – all of which belie the deep, rich homecooked flavor.
Pomodoro Sauce Ingredients
Scroll all the way down for the full recipe.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: When it comes to olive oil, using the good stuff is important. Extra virgin olive oil is oil from the first press – and is, accordingly, the least processed. While it isn’t always cheap, you’ll definitely taste the difference.
- Garlic: Four medium to large garlic cloves will have you sitting pretty. I like to chop my garlic super fine so that it almost becomes a mince. It perfumes the oil with its earthy pungency in a very short time when heated. Alternatively, you can use a fine grater or a microplane to ease the workload.
- Tomatoes: I’m using whole, peeled canned tomatoes for this pasta sauce recipe. When using canned tomatoes, I usually look for Bianco DiNapoli or San Marzano tomatoes – but that’s just a personal preference. However, you can also use fresh tomatoes if you prefer. If you go that route, simply follow the cooking instructions from this chilled Japanese tomato pasta recipe. Remember to score fresh tomatoes before boiling them so you can easily remove the skin.
- Tomato Paste: Canned tomato paste is essentially a tomato concentrate made by cooking tomatoes down (for several hours), then straining out the skin and seeds – and removing the water content. Adding a couple tablespoons will give this tomato sauce a rich boost.
- Fresh Basil: I use a sprig or two of basil while cooking the sauce – and remove it before the final blending step. When making pasta pomodoro, I like to add sprinkling of Parmesan cheese a couple fresh basil leaves to the plated dish.
- Salt and Pepper: You’ll need a few pinches of each. When it comes to salting most things in my kitchen, I prefer kosher salt.
How to Make Pomodoro Sauce
- Gather all of your cooking tools and ingredients.
- Then get a medium sized pot going over medium heat – and add your olive oil and garlic.
- Cook the garlic for 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Then add your canned tomatoes, tomato paste, basil sprig – and salt and pepper. Stir and bring that mixture to boil.
- Once boiling, lower the heat so that the sauce is simmering. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft enough that they easily break apart with a wooden spoon. If your sauce is watery at this point, you can pull the lid off and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat off, remove your basil sprig and transfer the sauce to a blender. Blend until smooth. Or, if you prefer, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce inside the cooking pot. Once you’ve got your preferred texture, serve over pasta (or see below for other uses).
If you’re preparing this pomodoro sauce recipe as a pasta sauce, prepare your noodles in a large pot of salted water according to the instructions on the box.
Pomodoro Sauce Uses
My absolute favorite use for this Italian tomato sauce is pasta al pomodoro. And while I usually make spaghetti pomodoro at home, this quick pasta sauce is an all purpose plug-and-play with:
However, I have also been known to pull leftover sauce out of the freezer and use it for any number of homemade Italian recipes. Here are some other uses:
- Homemade pizza sauce
- Sauce for eggplant Parmesan or chicken Parmesan
- Pan fried zucchini cakes with Parmesan and tomato sauce
- A sauce for spiralized veggies like zucchini, daikon radish, carrots or beets
- Sauce for a meatball sub or Italian sausage sandwich
- Ravioli sauce
What’s your favorite use for pomodoro sauce (besides spaghetti pomodoro)? Sound off in the comments section below and tell me about your favorites!
Pomodoro Sauce VS Marinara Sauce
While the ingredients list for both Italian pasta sauces tends to be very similar, there are a few differences mainly related to to texture (and color to a lesser extent).
- Pomodoro sauce is smooth and rich. It’s thick without being gloppy. The smoothness is due to the blending of the sauce. The longer you cook this Italian red sauce, the deeper and more pronounced that dark red hue becomes.
- Marinara sauce has chunks of tomato, yet has an overall thinner texture than pomodoro. While not a completely runny sauce, the difference is noticeable. In my experience, marinara tends to keep a super bright red color as well. Many recipes for marinara sauce will also call for the addition of oregano (not typically used in pomodoro).
Is Pomodoro Sauce Spicy?
Pomodoro sauce is not inherently spicy. It’s more in the garden fresh, savory and naturally sweet zone.
However, you can easily add a pinch of red pepper flakes (or more if you like to breathe fire) to the sauce as it simmers to introduce a touch of heat.
How to Store Leftovers
You can store any leftover sauce in an airtight container inside the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.
Or you can freeze your leftover spaghetti sauce.
- When freezing, it’s best to divide the sauce into single servings you can microwave as needed. Since it’s not a good idea to re-freeze a thawed sauce a second time, this will keep you from wasting any.
- As long as the pomodoro sauce is in airtight containers, you can freeze for up to 6 months.
Delicious and Easy Pasta Recipes
Did you like this pomodoro sauce recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Serve this light, sweet, and tangy pomodoro sauce with your favorite pasta. Top with freshly chopped basil and grated parmesan for the ultimate Italian meal.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 27 minutes
- Total Time: 37 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Sauce
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegan
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 to 2 sprigs of fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a medium size pot over medium heat, add the garlic and olive oil.
- Cook the garlic for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant, and add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil sprig, salt, and pepper.
- Bring to a boil and lower the heat to low, to a bubbling simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft enough that you can easily break them with a spoon.
- Turn the heat off, remove the basil sprig, and transfer the sauce to a blender. Blend until smooth and serve with pasta. Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer and blend until smooth straight in the pot.
Save the sauce in an airtight storage container and refrigerate for 5 to 7 days.
Freezing: You can divide the sauce into individual servings and save them in airtight storage bags or containers. Freeze for up to 6 months.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 133
- Sugar: 6.1g
- Sodium: 388.7mg
- Fat: 11.1g
- Saturated Fat: 1.6g
- Unsaturated Fat: 1.3g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 9.4g
- Fiber: 4.2g
- Protein: 2.1g
- Cholesterol: 0mg