Pomodoro Sauce

Pomodoro sauce is a type of Italian tomato sauce that is often served over cooked pasta. Like marinara sauce, pomodoro sauce is made from tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and fresh basil. Pomodoro sauce is somewhat thicker than the traditional marinara sauce, because it is simmered longer. Also, the tomatoes are less chunky in pomodoro sauce, and for a creamier sauce even crushed or pureed tomatoes can be substituted in whole or in part for the chopped tomatoes.
     Below: Fried mozzarella with a creamy pomodoro sauce; gnocci simmering in pomodoro in the pan; a jar of prepared pomodoro sauce; it's such a popular sauce that restaurants and cafes name themselves after it.

Pomodoro Sauce Items

Pomodoro Sauce Recipe:
     Making a fresh pomodoro sauce at home is fairly simple. A very basic recipe, that makes a generous helping for a small family, is:

·5 tablespoons fresh virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish later

·6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced. Alternatively, for finer sauces you can make a garlic paste by crushing these with the side of a chef's knife, and mixing in a little olive oil.

·3 (28-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes; if you're using fresh tomatoes, any 'will do' but for the best sauces try using imported Italian tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes are highly recommended. Put them in a food processor or a blender until they're the consistency you like, anywhere from roughly chopped, for a chunkier sauce, to finely pureed, for a creamier sauce.

·2 1/2 teaspoons sugar

·Kosher salt or sea salt

Optional: many chefs like to add ingredients to the above. The above recipe is meant to be a basic starting point, and each chef developes their own combination of ingredients for their 'starting point', but here are a few very common changes/additions:

  • Finely dice a medium-size onion, sautee BEFORE adding the garlic (see instructions below)
  • Half cup of freshly-chopped basil, to be added to saucepot when the sauce has finished cooking, moments before serving.
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Experiment with the tastes and consistencies of the tomatoes you use, since they are the most important ingredient; some chefs will mix fresh tomatoes in with canned tomato paste, some will try a can of tomatoes, mixed with fresh tomatoes, and add some tomato paste.
  • Experiment with different herbs and seasonings... though experiment carefully. You are usually safe to try adding small amounts of herbs that are generally known to be good in Italian red sauces... but first put the tiniest pinch of any herb on a spoonful of the sauce to see what you think, rather than dumping it straight into the main batch. If it seems to go well, you might try a pinch in with the sauce to begin with, and add more if you're liking the taste.
  • Common other additions include, to your taste: mushrooms of various kinds, colored bell peppers, hot peppers, and meats. Pomodoro sauce and pasta are especially famous and recommended to go with chicken, but other meats, seafood, and meatballs are used.
  • A secret ingredient of some chefs is to add a little cream to the sauce to make it... er... creamier.

Begin by heating the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Sautee the diced onions if you're using them, until they're soft but not browned. Add the garlic (in slices or paste) and sauté carefully and briefly, don’t let it turn brown; if you're using red pepper flakes, you can add that pinch now too. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

This sauce can be covered with a lid wholly or partially as it does not need to reduce too much; if you're making a creamier sauce your ingredients are mostly in puree and paste form and will not need much reducing; if it's a chunkier sauce with diced tomatoes, onions and garlic, you might leave the lid off so it reduces a bit better as it may be slightly watery. You can also add a small can of tomato paste with the diced tomatoes, to absorb some of their water.

Cook approximately 30 - 60 minutes, until the sauce slightly thickens. Stir and check it occasionally. Add sugar and salt according to taste during the process. Don't over-salt it but make sure it's not bland either, a common problem of poorly-made sauces. Taste it! as you go along, don't guess! Cook it longer if it seems to need 'more taste', as the reduction and mixing of the ingredients progresses over more cooking time, as is true with almost all sauces.

Add any fresh herbs, like the freshly-chopped basil, only a few minutes before serving, so they have a few minutes to stew in the pot with the other ingredients, but do not become overstewed and lose their fresh taste. If you are using dried herbs, they can be added anytime during the cooking since their 'freshness' has long been dried out of them and they are only adding a particular taste to the sauce, but not a freshness. If you've tried a sauce with freshly-added herbs and compare it to one made with the same herbs but dried... you'll know exactly what I mean.

Pomodoro sauce is best served over al dente pasta. Sprinkle on fresh grated fresh parmesan cheese or fresh basil for the perfect meal. Homemade pomodoro sauce keeps well for up to one week in the refrigerator, and can be frozen.

Pomodoro Sauce Dishes