Pasta al pomodoro is one of the most famous Italian dishes. The dish was created in Naples, south Italy by Ippolito Cavalcanti in the early 1800’s.
The original Pasta al pomodoro was called “Vermicelli Al Pomodoro”, vermicelli being “real spaghetti”, thicker and with a longer cooking time in respect to today’s modern spaghetti. Back in the day, it was traditional to eat vermicelli with your hands. Needless to say, that tradition did not stick around.
Pasta al pomodoro aka pasta with tomato sauce for us American folks is a hit with the kids, family dinners, and late night cooking sessions. It’s super easy to whip up and you don’t need too many ingredients. It is a staple in Italian home cooking.
Sugo di Pomodoro
The perfect tomato sauce: We treat it as if it’s the Holy Grail of modern Italian cooking. How many times have you heard someone say: ‘Oh, he makes the best tomato sauce?’ or ‘My aunt has the best tomato sauce recipe’. If only we had a dollar for every time someone said that we… well we probably wouldn’t be writing this post.
For us, the key to a great tomato sauce are:
- Really great tomatoes. No, you don’t have to pull a Barefoot Contessa and grow your own tomatoes, but you should (somewhat) know where they come from.
- Very few ingredients. Think less is more, a minimalist’s dream.
That’s it. No need to dump your entire vegetable drawer in the pan. All you need are a few ripe delicious tomatoes (or canned), garlic, extra virgin olive oil, basil, and salt.
The tomatoes in a good pasta sauce are the star, so should be able to shine. We give the tomatoes the glory they deserve by allowing them to cook down to the perfect consistency. The sauce should coat/stick to the pasta. Keep the lid on the sauce and let it cook until the sauce thickens.
The key to a good pasta is properly seasoned pasta water. Add enough salt for the water to taste good, or seasoned. We will admit, we prefer our pasta cooked a bit past ‘al dente’; however, for the sake of tradition, we advise you to cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
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