Salsa di pomodoro classica

This is a rich, slow cooked tomato sauce which is a lot heftier than my other go-to pomodoro sauce (although that one only takes about 10 minutes to rustle up!). I learned this version at the excellent La Cucina Caldesi cooking school.

Serves 4

8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and gently crushed
2 x 400g cans quality chopped tomatoes
25g butter
Chopped parsley, to finish

Add the oil to a heavy-bottomed saucepan on a low heat. Once the oil has warmed, add the onion and garlic to the pan saute gently for ten minutes. Pour in the tomatoes once the onions have turned translucent.

Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer gently 45 – 60 minutes. During this time the sauce will reduce and become sweeter as the flavour from the onions comes through. Stir in the butter and adjust the seasoning if you need to before serving. Serve with fresh parsley.


I find this is best served with dried spaghetti. If you can, try and get hold of ‘die extruded’ pasta. This method results in a rougher outer surface which is great for helping the sauce to cling to it.

With so few ingredients this dish really hinges on the quality of the tomatoes so buy the best you can afford.

If you have guests unaccustomed to finding cloves of garlic floating around their plate you may want to fish them out before serving. Alternatively they can be eaten whole. The slow cooking in the sauce will have made them deliciously mild.