Technically, this pasta pomodoro takes less than 30 minutes to make! Yes! So quick and easy.
This dish was inspired by our latest trip to Carmel. Andrew had a spectacular pasta pomodoro at Carmel’s Bistro Giovanni our first evening there. After one bite, I knew it was a dish I would try recreating with my own twist at home. And I must say, I could not be happier with how this pomodoro turned out! This is a dish we have been enjoying once a week, and we would probably have it even more frequently, but that would be a lot of pasta…
As you can see below, the ingredients for this dish are simple and few. EASY. And all the ingredients are delicious—how could something not taste amazing with fresh tomato, garlic, and basil??!
This pomodoro is vegetarian, but could easily be made vegan by omitting the parmesan and butter at the end. I think these two ingredients make this dish to die for, but as a former vegan, I can definitely say that even without the parmesan and butter, this pasta pomodoro makes a spectacular meal!
And not to make another plug for freshly grating your cheese, but USE FRESHLY GROUND parmesan here! Simply put the parmesan block in your food processor, pulse a few times, then process until the parmesan gets to the consistency of the shaky parmesan stuff you buy bottled at the grocery store. Trust me, grinding the parmesan yourself is so much better! You will be amazed at how different it tastes.
And with that, I encourage you to make this quick, easy, and delicious 30 minute pasta pomodoro for dinner tonight!
30 Minute Easy Pasta Pomodoro
For the spaghetti
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 cup freshly ground parmesan, grind it in your food processor
For the pomodoro sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (literally, just smash each peeled clove open with your knife!)
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 16 oz grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 ½ tsp sea salt
- 10 basil leaves, (substitute 2-3 Tbsp fresh parsley in a pinch!)
- 1 cup pasta water, reserved
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp butter
Cook the garlic
- In a dutch oven or similar large pot, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil for about a minute over medium heat. Add all of the smashed garlic, and cook for 3 minutes, until it smells heavenly.
Add the tomatoes
- Now add 1 tsp of the sea salt and all of the tomatoes. Stir to incorporate them into the oil and garlic, then turn the heat down to medium low and cook for 9 minutes. The tomatoes will release all of their juices and really cook down. Stir occasionally. After 5 minutes, turn the heat down to low.
Start the spaghetti
- When you add your tomatoes to the pot to cook with the garlic, it is a good time to start boiling your water and cooking your spaghetti. Do this in a separate large pot.
- Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water (I use 1 Tbsp sea salt for 11 cups of water) until it is mostly cooked through, but still not cooked through enough to eat. For a pound of spaghetti, this will be around the 8-9 minute mark.
Add the basil leaves
- Now back to the pot with the pomodoro sauce. After your tomatoes have cooked down for 9 minutes, add the basil leaves right on top, followed by the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Stir, and cook on low for 3 minutes, until the basil leaves wilt and turn kind of a bright forest green. Turn off the heat.
Process the tomato mixture
- Carefully pour the tomato mixture into your food processor. It will be hot, so again, be careful! Pulse 10 times, then remove the lid of the food processor and scrape down the sides.
- Pulse 10 more times, and you are done, we don’t want a smooth sauce! Texture is good, the tomatoes should be the size of medium-small chunks, and the basil should be large flecks.
- Once the tomatoes are to this texture and size, pour the mixture back into the pot you cooked the tomatoes in. Add in the remaining ½ tsp sea salt, followed by the brown sugar. Stir to combine.
Transfer the spaghetti to the sauce
- Your pomodoro sauce should be back in its pot at about the same time your spaghetti reaches its mostly cooked point.
- Now turn the heat on to medium under the pomodoro sauce, turn off the heat under the pasta, and with great care (careful of steam!) take your kitchen tongs and transfer the spaghetti in batches to the pot of pomodoro sauce. It is a good thing if a bit of that pasta water gets into the sauce as you transfer the noodles, so don’t worry!
- Once all the spaghetti has been transferred into the pot with the sauce, use your tongs to toss the spaghetti and the sauce together, keeping the heat on medium.
- Take 1 cup of the pasta water, and add it to the pomodoro pasta. Use your tongs to incorporate this pasta water into the sauce and the spaghetti. Continue tossing like this for 3 minutes, or until when you taste the spaghetti, it is cooked to al dente perfection.
Bring it all together and serve!
- Turn off the heat, add the butter and ¼ cup parmesean and toss with the tongs. Add another ¼ cup parsesan, and continue to toss until the butter has fully melted and incorporated.
- Top the dish with more parmesan and serve. (Keep the leftover parmesan on the side for each individual plate to use!) This is a fantastic meal with Gardein, a spinach salad, and my garlic rubbed-bread! (Recipe to come later this week!)