Spaghetti al Pomodoro – Fresh Tomato Sauce Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 – 2 lbs very ripe, flavorful tomatoes: Use the best tomatoes you can find. San Marzano, Roma, or vine-ripened varieties are excellent choices.
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil: High-quality olive oil is essential.
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped: Adds a touch of sweetness.
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced: Adjust to your garlic preference.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 12 oz spaghetti
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions:

Prep the tomatoes:

  • Score a shallow “X” at the bottom of each tomato.
  • Blanch them in boiling water for 30-60 seconds until the skins start to loosen.
  • Immediately transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking.
  • Peel off the skins, roughly chop, and set aside.

Start the sauce:

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Add onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.

Add Tomatoes and Seasonings:

  • Stir in the chopped tomatoes and all their juices.
  • Add salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar (optional, helps balance acidity).
  • Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer.

Simmer and Flavor:

  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and flavors meld. Use a spoon to break down larger tomato pieces.
  • During the last 5 minutes, stir in the torn basil leaves.

Cook the Pasta:

  • While the sauce simmers, boil a large pot of generously salted water.
  • Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente.

Combine the Sauce and Pasta:

  • Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining.
  • Add the drained spaghetti directly to the pan with the sauce. Toss to combine well, adding a splash of pasta water as needed to create a silky sauce that coats the pasta.

Finish and Serve:

  • Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired, and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Tips:

  • For extra richness: Stir in a couple of tablespoons of butter at the end of the cooking process.
  • Make it your own: Feel free to add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
  • Use top-quality ingredients: The best tomatoes and olive oil will significantly impact the flavor of this sauce.

Enjoy your delicious and authentic Spaghetti al Pomodoro!

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