Spaghetti al Pomodoro is a light tomato pasta dish filled with fresh basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Easy and delicious!

When the sky is all gloomy-like and it’s done nothing but rain… and rain and rain I like to have what I call “a carb dinner”.

Spaghetti al Pomodoro l

As you can clearly see “carb dinner” consists of a cozy comforting bowl of pasta with breadsticks. Carbalicious if you ask me. Pat picked up our favorite breadsticks and of course the infamous garlic-cheese dip while on his way home from work and I made pasta, pomodoro-style.


Pomodoro translates to tomato. So not glamorous. BUT!!! Spaghetti al Pomodoro is typically pretty light and made with fresh ingredients like basil, garlic and tomatoes and then finished off with grated Parm and my personal favorite… butter.

I know my family isn’t into the whole “raw” sauce thing, so I always opt for canned whole San Marzanos. For those who’ve made my lasagna, you know what I’m talking about.

San Marzanos rule, that is all.

chicken sausages

Now of course I couldn’t serve a bowl of meatless pasta to my family. Oh-no-no that wouldn’t do, so I added cooked, sliced chicken sausages. But pomodoro is traditionally meatless. 

chopped yellow onion

Like any good recipe, it starts off with a chopped yellow onion.

minced garlic

And five… yes FIVE medium-sized cloves of garlic. Minced… like to a pulp almost.

olive oil and onions

Heat a quarter cup {I eyeball it} of EVOO in a deep, 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Once that baby is good to go, throw in the diced onion.

saute til softened

Cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until soft and translucent.

add garlic

Next add the minced garlic to the onions and cook for a minute or two.

red pepper flakes

Sprinkle in a little crushed red pepper… Ps. I’ve just discovered {thanks to my husband} how delicious red pepper flakes is on pizza. LOOK OUT… I see a post coming at ya!

hand crushed

This is the messy fun part. Over the pan; squeeze, crush and pulverize each and every one of the San Marzano tomatoes in your {impeccably clean} hands. I can only use one hand because the other is holding a camera… but two hands DO work better than one.


Add about a half cup of water to the can, swirl it around to get all the sauce “clingers” and pour it all into the pan.


Season with just a pinch of kosher salt. Remember there’s Parm in the near future and that adds a bit of saltiness in itself.  Let this simmer on medium heat for about 20-25 minutes until it has thickened. In the meantime I like to bring a pot of salty water to boil and cook the pasta, as directed on the side of the package of course.


Once the 20 minutes are up, add in the sliced fresh basil…


… and stir. Remove the pan from the heat until the pasta is done.

drain pasta

FIRST measure out a half cup of the pasta liquids before Draining the pasta.

pasta water

Return the pan to medium-high heat and pour the pasta juice into the sauce, this will loosen it up.

toss in the pasta

Add the drained spaghetti noodles…

parm and butter

Parm and butter are next! The butter will give this pasta a luscious creaminess that is a must. So don’t forget ya hear?!

chicken sausage

This part is totally optional. But in my family… a must.

Spaghetti al Pomodoro l

Who needs bowl? Just gimme a fork.

Spaghetti al Pomodoro l

The Spaghetti al Pomodoro pasta sauce is deliciously light and flavorful, and just what we needed to cope with the watery day, the extra sprinkle of cheese helps too.

Ya know you can make this pasta meatless or meat-full, either way…

…carb dinner. Make it happen.

Spaghetti al Pomodoro l

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Yield: 6 servings

Spaghetti al Pomodoro

A light tomato pasta dish filled with fresh basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese.


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 12 ounces spaghetti noodles
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoon butter


  • Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch deep-sided skillet over medium-low. Add in the onions and cook until soft and translucent.
  • Add in the minced garlic and cook for a minute or two. Add a couple pinches of red pepper flakes and stir. Over the pan, crush the San Marzano tomatoes by hand and add in any juices from the can.
  • Add a half cup of water to the can, swirl it around to loosen any sauce and then pour it into the pan.
  • Season with a pinch of kosher salt, stir and cook, uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Add in the sliced basil, stir and then turn of the heat and remove the pan while preparing the pasta as directed on the package.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, reserve a half cup of pasta liquid and drain the pasta in a colander. Return the pan to medium-high heat, pour in the half cup of the pasta water to loosen the sauce up a bit.
  • Add in the drained pasta, the Parmesan cheese and the two tablespoons of butter. Toss the pasta with the sauce until the cheese and butter has melted.
  • If making chicken sausage, add sliced, cooked sausage at this point.
  • Stir and divide among bowls, top with more grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Serving: 1g, Calories: 351kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 114mg, Potassium: 172mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 213IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 74mg, Iron: 1mg