Technically, this easy Pasta Pomodoro comes together in less than 30 minutes.
Make it vegetarian with the recipe as written, or make it vegan and omit the Parmesan and finishing butter. Either way, it doesn’t get much more delicious or easy than this meal.
30 Minute Pasta Pomodoro Inspiration
This Pasta Pomodoro was inspired by our most recent trip to Carmel for Doris Day’s 2019 Birthday Celebration. One of the highlights of our time in Carmel was a meal at Bistro Giovanni. The Pomodoro we had there was so simple and delicious, I had to create my own.
And this recipe was the result.
If I had to choose a few dinners to make every week, this Pomodoro would be one of them. Add to that the fact that this meal comes together in under 30 minutes, and this is quite literally the perfect weeknight dinner.
If using Parmesan, make sure it’s freshly grated or ground. I like to roughly chop a block of Parmesan, put it in the food processor, and let the food processor grind it up the rest of the way for me.
For a recipe like this with so few ingredients, it’s important that each ingredient is good quality. This is important for the olive oil in particular. Here’s my favorite olive oil on Amazon [aff. link], straight from the Greek olive groves of the Panagiotopoulos family.
Makes This 30 Minute Pasta Pomodoro!
Make my easy 30 Minute Pass Pomodoro for dinner this week, and enjoy a restaurant quality meal at home.
30 Minute Pasta Pomodoro
For the spaghetti:
- ¾ pound spaghetti
- ½ Tbsp sea salt
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, (or substitute 2-3 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced)
- 1 cup pasta water, reserved
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp butter, (omit to keep vegan)
- 1 cup freshly ground parmesan, (omit to keep vegan)
Cook the garlic
- In a dutch oven or large skillet, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil for about a minute over medium heat. Add all of the smashed garlic, and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes
- Now add 1 tsp of the sea salt and all of the tomatoes. Stir to incorporate the tomatoes 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
- After you add your tomatoes to the pan with the garlic, it's a good time to start boiling water with the ½ Tbsp of sea salt in a separate, large pot to cook the spaghetti in.
- Cook the spaghetti in the salted boiling water until it's mostly cooked through, but still not cooked through enough to eat. For ¾ 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 (or minced parsley) 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 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. Pulse 10 times, then remove the lid of the food processor and scrape down the sides.
- Pulse 10 more times, and that's it; 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 pan 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.
- Turn the heat on to medium under the pomodoro sauce, and turn off the heat under the spaghetti. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain the spaghetti, and transfer it to the pan with the pomodoro sauce.
- Keeping the heat on medium, use your kitchen tongs or a serving spoon and fork to toss the spaghetti and the sauce together.
- Now add the 1 cup of reserved pasta water to the pan with the pomodoro sauce and spaghetti. Use your tongs to incorporate this pasta water into the sauce and the spaghetti. Continue tossing like this for about 3 minutes, until the spaghetti is cooked to al dente.
Bring it all together and serve
- Turn off the heat, add the butter and ¼ cup Parmesan, and toss with the tongs. Add another ¼ cup Parmesan, and continue to toss until the butter has melted and incorporated into the rest of the dish.
- Top the dish with the remaining Parmesan, and serve. You can also reserve the remaining Parmesan to top each individual serving. Serve with a side of dark red kidney beans and my Kale Salad.
What a gorgeous looking plate of pasta! We are huge pasta lovers here in our house, and this recipe is proof that Italian food can be both simple and amazingly delicious at the same time. Putting this one on the list to make for sure!!
Thanks David! It doesn’t get much better for a good weeknight meal than a quick and delicious pasta dish. 😋