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    Pomodoro Pasta

    This easy Pomodoro Pasta is the perfect option when you crave a light, yet satisfying, spaghetti dinner.

    With a simple tomato sauce made of easy to find ingredients, this classic Italian dish is a great meatless dinner or pasta side dish.

    Blue bowl full of pomodoro pasta.

    We love our pasta nights. Some favorites include Jambalaya Pasta, Pasta e Piselli, and Pappardelle Bolognese. And when we really want to go all out, we’ll cook up a big batch of Sunday Gravy.

    Today’s recipe for pomodoro pasta, where “pomodoro” means tomato in Italian, is one of the simplest out there, but we love it just the same.

    Why It Works

    • Freshness: The combination of fresh basil and top quality tomatoes gives a burst of freshness in every bite.
    • It’s Healthy: Made with simple and nutritious ingredients, this dish is not just delicious but also healthy. And it’s also vegetarian and vegan friendly.
    • Easy Factor: With straightforward steps, this recipe is a fuss-free way to bring gourmet flavors to your table.

    What’s the Difference Between Pomodoro and Marinara?

    Both Pomodoro and Marinara are iconic in Italian cuisine, and are similar in their base ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil, herbs and garlic.

    The primary difference is the texture. Marinara is somewhat chunky and runny. Pomodoro is smoother with a somewhat creamy texture, which makes it better at adhering to pasta.

    We love them both, but in our opinion Pomodoro is better for mixing with pasta, while Marinara is better at topping pasta.

    Ingredient Notes

    can of san marzano tomatoes

    For a complete list, along with exact measurements, see the recipe card at the end of the post. Here are the main things you’re going to need to make pomodoro pasta:

    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: It’s important for sautéing the garlic and chili flakes, and it also contributes to the overall richness of the sauce.
    • Garlic: We can’t cook without it.
    • Crushed Red Pepper: Just a touch. The amount can be adjusted depending on your preference for spiciness.
    • Cherry Tomatoes: Their natural sweetness and juiciness add a fresh dimension to the sauce. When cooked down, they contribute a more vibrant tomato flavor compared to canned tomatoes alone.
    • Canned Whole Tomatoes: San Marzano, please. Crush them by hand in a large bowl before adding to the sauce.
    • Fresh Basil Leaves: Basil adds a fresh, aromatic lift to the sauce. For this particular recipe, if you don’t have fresh basil on hand we would recommend omitting it entirely rather than using dried.
    • Salt, Pepper & Sugar: All to taste.
    • Pasta: The choice of pasta can vary, but traditional shapes like spaghetti (our top choice), linguine, or penne are great for holding onto the sauce.

    How to Make Spaghetti Pomodoro

    1. Initial Sauté: Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, sauté for one minute. Add in halved cherry tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes.

    cooking the cherry tomatoes

    2. Simmer: Add crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

    While it’s simmering, boil the pasta in salted water to al dente and reserve a cup of the pasta water before draining.

    Add basil leaves into the sauce, remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

    adding in the basil

    3. Blend: Carefully transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust for salt, pepper and sugar.

    sauce after blending

    4. Toss: Add your cooked and drained pasta into the sauce. Stir until well combined. If needed, add in a little of the reserved pasta water.

    Pasta stirred into the sauce.

    Serving Suggestions

    We typically make this pasta as a main dish when we want something light for dinner, along with a side of green salad.

    You can also serve it as a side for a variety of meats. Some top contenders are Grilled Italian Sausage, Italian Meatballs, or Braised Pork Chops.

    For plenty more ideas check out our roundup, What To Serve With Spaghetti.

    Helpful Tips

    • Use the Best Tomatoes: The quality of the tomatoes is key in this dish. San Marzano may cost a dollar or two more, but their superior flavor is worth it in this dish. For the cherry tomatoes, select the ripest, most aromatic ones you can find.
    • Don’t Rush the Sauce: Allow the sauce to simmer for at least 30 minutes to develop depth and meld flavors. If you have time, a longer simmer can enhance the taste even more.
    • Salt Your Pasta Water: The water should taste as salty as seawater. This is your chance to season the pasta itself.
    • Reserve Some Pasta Water: Before draining your pasta, save a cup of the pasta water. You can add it to the sauce if you need to adjust the consistency.
    • Don’t Overcook the Pasta: Cook it to al dente, as it will continue to cook a bit more when mixed with the hot sauce.

    Leftovers and Storage

    Spaghetti pomodoro is great as leftovers. Allow to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container, then refrigerate for 4-5 days.

    Reheat on stovetop over medium heat, or in the microwave. If the pasta has absorbed too much of the sauce causing the dish to dry out, you can add in a splash of olive oil or water while reheating.

    Bowl of spaghetti pomodoro.

    Spaghetti pomodoro is one more great pasta recipe to add to your collection. It’s so simple, yet so good.

    Remember to save or pin this recipe so you always know where to find it. And don’t forget to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new recipes for you!

    For more easy dinners, check out our hand picked collection of Dinner Ideas for Tonight. Until next time…

    Pomodoro Pasta, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    bowl of pomodoro pasta on the Gypsy Plate.

    More great pasta dishes to try:
    TikTok Spaghetti
    Louisiana Chicken Pasta
    Orecchiette with Sausage
    Espagueti Verde
    American Chop Suey
    Creamy Sausage Pasta
    Rasta Pasta

    Featured image for pomodoro pasta recipe.

    Pomodoro Pasta

    Yield: 6 servings
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 40 minutes
    Total Time: 45 minutes

    Crave a light and satisfying spaghetti dinner? Try this easy Pomodoro Pasta recipe. Made with simple ingredients, it's versatile and healthy too!


    • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
    • ½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 28oz canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
    • 10-15 fresh basil leaves
    • salt, to taste
    • pepper, to taste
    • sugar, to taste
    • 12oz uncooked pasta


    1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, sauté for one minute.
    2. Add in halved cherry tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes.
    3. Add crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
    4. While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add in pasta, and cook to al dente. Reserve a cup of the pasta water before draining.
    5. Remove from heat, stir in the basil leaves, and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth.
    6. Taste and adjust for salt, pepper and sugar.
    7. Return the sauce to the pot and stir in the pasta until well combined. If you prefer a thinner consistency, gradually stir in some of the reserved pasta water.
    8. Serve and enjoy.


    1. If desired, you can garnish with more fresh basil and shredded parmesan cheese.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 327Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 0mgSodium 109mgCarbohydrates 50gFiber 4gSugar 6gProtein 9g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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