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Spaghetti al Pomodoro

Spaghetti al pomodoro

PT2H

This simple pomodoro sauce is at the base of Italian cooking. So much so that Italians refer to this dish simply as sugo, which means 'sauce'. It is possibly the most universal sauce of all and it can be used plain or as the base for other more complicated sauces. It’s usually a kids’ favourite as well, so is a real family pleaser. Pasta al pomodoro can be made with tomato purée, but Italians often make it from scratch. In summer, when we are lucky enough to find fresh tomatoes at the market, we eat this pasta regularly. In fact, many people still make enough tomato sauce to last through the winter.

The right tomatoes are fundamental in making a good sauce. They have to be small, sweet and ripe… the big ones (or even the San Marzano/plum ones) are not good to make this sauce, and are mainly used to make chunkier tomato sauces. Making sugo at home is very easy. The only thing is, it needs to be cooked twice: the first time to cook the tomatoes and the second time to thicken the sauce. Apart from that, it is not difficult at all and it tastes so much better than anything out of a jar!

1
To begin, cut a slit in the tomatoes (vertically) and place them in a pan with the chopped onion and a little salt. Squash them a little with a wooden spoon to get the juices out, then cook uncovered on a medium-low heat for 20–30 minutes
2
Discard any liquids that have accumulated on top by skimming off with a spoon. Scoop the cooked tomatoes and onions out of the pan and place in a vegetable mill. Process the pulp into a bowl. If you don't own a vegetable mill, blitz the tomatoes and onions in a blender then pass through a fine sieve
3
Place the tomato sauce back onto the heat and cook it again, uncovered, on a medium-low heat until it thickens
4
Add the torn basil leaves 5 minutes before it's ready and season with salt
5
Cook the pasta al dente, following the instructions on the packet. Drain and mix in a serving bowl with the tomato sauce
6
Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and finely grated Parmesan, if preferred

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