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Spaghetti con sugo di pomodoro fresco – Pasta with tomato sauce

Nothing is more Italian than pasta with tomato sauce. However, this dish is not that easy: although the preparation in the kitchen is straightforward, the problem lies in finding good tomatoes.  Every cookbook refers either to sun-ripened tomatoes (preferably during the month of August), or a can of San Marzano tomatoes as a replacement when delicious tomatoes are not available.  And the tomatoes that you can buy are not ment to be sun-ripened and packed with flavour.  They are bred to cope with transport and to have the right colour and form, and that’s about it.  And although the canned Italian tomatoes are not bad, they still remain, well, canned tomatoes.  If you think all tomatoes available in Italy are far superior, then you’re in for a disappointment.  Most tomatoes available in Italian supermarkets come from Dutch greenhouses.  The Italian-bred, sun-drenched tomatoes are not at all easy to find, and markedly more expensive.  So, what to do?

The solution is to find the best quality tomatoes that you can find, and give them a blast treatment to enhance their flavour: oven-roasting.  This treatment concentrates the flavour enormously, and enhances the overal taste experience.  

The resulting sauce can be used as is to dress pasta, or further enhanced by adding fresh herbs, like basil, or spiked up with some peperoncini. You can also stew some scampi in it, serve it with rabbit or swordfish, and it is excellent with cooked cannellini beans, thus creating the classic fagioli all’uccelletto.


  • 250g cherrry tomatoes on the stalk, rinsed
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • pinch of dried origano
  • pepper and salt
  • some olive oil
  • white part of +/- 5 sping onions
  • a bay leaf
  • some branches of fresh thyme
Cut the tomatoes in half, and put them in an oven tray.  Add all the other ingredients, except the spring onions, and mix thoroughly. Put in a preheated oven (180°C) for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool down a bit. Remove the thyme, and bay leaf.
Fry the spring onions in a tablespoon of olive oil for a few minutes. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill: do not use a blender or other electric appliance; only a food mill will catch the skins and pips of the tomatoes.  Add the mixed tomatoes to the pan with the spring onions and let simmer for a few minutes, for the flavours to blend.  This will also reduce and thicken the sauce to the right consistency. Taste for salt and pepper.
Serve with spaghetti and add some finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
If you want a simpler recipe for a plain tomato sauce, then have a look at this Italian lady:

Posted in Cucinone in English, Recipes.

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One Response

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  1. Smart Ideas says

    I like the facts about tomatoes – about the origin of supermarket tomatoes, how to treat tomatoes to get more flavor and why not to use blender.

    Here are some ideas how to improve your recipe. Cook pasta 2-3 minutes less than recommended. Then mix with your sauce. The flavors from the sauce will be soaked by the pasta while the pasta gets done. The sauce will get thicker, too.

    You may also consider serving the sauce with different pasta. Tubular pastas, such as penne, can carry more tomato sauce than spaghetti.

    See for more info…

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