This recipe is inspired by two events: A dinner at Scarpetta in Montauk and a trip to Sicily. Scott Conant's pasta pomodoro at Scarpetta is probably the best pasta pomodoro I have ever had - after having devoured an entire plate, I vowed to try and recreate such deliciousness. A few months later I found myself in Sicily thinking of precisely that pasta pomodoro. My last day on the island, I went to the local market and hauled some fresh produce: the sweetest and ripest tomatoes I could find. I also took some garlic and onions with me. Of course, I also had to stop at the local bakery to pick up authentic Sicilian canneloni. Extra heavy handluggage on the way home, anyone?
Picking up fresh Italian produce was worth it! The result was a pasta pomodoro that certainly keeps up with my food experience in Montauk.
For more of my food please visit @thegourmettrain on Instagram —Thegourmettrain
1 hour 30 minutes
Pomodoro Sauce (Prep work)
large tomatoes, such as San Marzano or vine tomatoes
grape tomatoes (datterini)
fresh pepperoni chilies (red)
head of garlic
medium red onion
extra virgin olive oil
salt (or to taste)
fresh or dry spaghetti
Optional: Parmesan or nutritional yeast (if vegan)
Optional: Use less of the fresh chilies if you are sensitive to spice
Wash and dry all your fresh ingredients (omitting the onion and garlic)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Prepare a bowl with ice, salt and water.
Heat oven to 200°C.
Deseed chilies and chop them into thin round rings. Take two whole cloves from the head of garlic, peel and set aside. Cut off the top of the garlic bulb.
Finely dice the red onion.
Wash a bunch of basil. About 8 leaves for the sauce and more to top.
Pomodoro Sauce (Cooking Method)
Take the pot of water off the heat. Put in the large tomatoes and cover. Let sit for 3-5 minutes.
Transfer the tomatoes to the bowl of ice water.
Put the grape tomatoes and head of garlic on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil (about 1-2 tbsp). Put them in the middle rack of the oven for about 20 minutes (till the peel starts to pop and turn slightly brown).
Peel the large tomatoes, halve and deseed them.
In a large saucepan: heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, chilies and garlic cloves and sauté for about 5 minutes.
Add large tomatoes to saucepan and cook for a further 10 minutes. Then add salt and sugar as well as basil leaves. Cover and cook on medium heat for another 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add the oven roasted grape tomatoes to the saucepan and stir. Let simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes, preferably 45 minutes.
Remove the garlic cloves from the sauce. Use a handheld blender to puree the tomato sauce, leave it a little chunky.
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Make sure it is al dente.
Toss pasta in sauce and serve with fresh basil. Top with Parmesan or nutritional yeast.