Spaghetti al pomodoro

How to respect an Italian classic, if you are not Italian!

Spaghetti with tomato sauce (spaghetti al pomodoro) is not only the worldwide symbol of my country, Italy, but also the culinary adaption of a culture: for their lunch break, many Italians choose pasta to fast food, preferring a good homemade piatto di spaghetti al pomodoro, that is consumed very often during the whole week. It can easily turn into an addiction, sometimes a real obsession. The purists only accept spaghetti (that can have even 15 variations in millimeters) and no other kind of pasta, but honestly, a good tomato sauce can bound really good with any kind of pasta. In the south of Italy, the leftover pasta can be re-invented in the evening with a delicious – but less healthy-  variation on a theme: pasta fritta.
Fried pasta is bringing the spaghetti to a next level: it’s crunchy in the outside (sightly toasted by the oil in the pan) but soft in the inside.

I’ve decided to make this video recipe because, since I’ve moved to Berlin more than 10 years ago, I’ve seen so many wrong things about pasta, that before I even forget myself how to cook it, it’s better to write down on my blog. General rules, that works well for me are: fresh basil leaves, fresh aromatic garlic (no powder!), good quality of spaghetti (just go to any Italian grocery and you will have the spoilt for choice, and remember: famous brands are not necessarily produced in Italy, so support smaller brands that offer better  quality), good can of tomato San Marzano (or any other kind), olive  and a pinch of baking soda. Because the tomato can be sometimes sour, a pinch (not more!) of baking soda will chemically mellow the acidity of the tomatoes. Don’t use sugar: it will cover any original flavor and we don’t want a tomato marmalade, right?





Spaghetti al pomodoro

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 can tomato can (better Marzano)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh basil
  • spaghetti


  1. On a pan at low heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  2. add the garlic and the basil leaves and sauté until golden.
  3. Remove the garlic and add the tomatoes from the can
  4. Add about 4 tablespoons of water in the empty can, give it a shake and pour the water into the pan
  5. add salt, pepper, a pinch of baking soda, give a good stir, cover with a lid and let it cook for about 30 minutes.
  6. Cook the spaghetti al dente on boiling salty water
  7. Mix the cooked spaghetti with the sauce in the pan
  8. Serve with fresh basil leaves and some olive oil.