"...A well-executed spaghetti al pomodoro is the apotheosis of the fruit, the purest distillation of summer umami." Eric Kim, NYTimes.com
We've featured a fresh tomato sauce recipe in the past. And it remains our go-to sauce. But pasta al pomodoro is a beautiful thing that stands alone. The combination of sweet tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil, simmered down to its essence, then strained to smooth perfection, is a sauce that needs no more embellishment. Try and find smaller, sweeter cocktail tomatoes. Keep your big tomato and plum varieties for for your chunky tomato sauces. A thin spaghetti is the best pasta for this gorgeous sauce, too.
1/2 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 lbs ripe cocktail tomatoes, quartered
1/2 tsp Kosher salt (and 1 tbsp for pasta water)
450g thin spaghetti
Option: 1 tbsp Garlic olive oil for cooking
Tip: If tomatoes are not completely ripe, add one tsp sugar when cooking
On medium-high place olive oil(s) in large pot or Dutch oven. Heat until shimmering. Add tomatoes and cook until they begin to shed liquid and the sauce bubbles. Add salt and stir. Lower heat to medium and simmer until reduced about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat. Place sieve over medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour sauce through sieve, pushing the mixture through with a rubber spatula. Press until all the liquid has passed through the sieve and all that is left are seeds and skins. Remove pulp from bottom of sieve, too. Return the strained sauce to Dutch oven, adding additional seasoning as necessary. Prepare spaghetti according to package directions, cooking to al dente texture. Drain pasta completely. Place in Dutch oven, turn heat to high and stir constantly with wooden spoon until for 2 to 3 minutes. The spaghetti should be well coated. Remove pot from heat and let rest for a few minutes. Stir again before serving. You can garnish with cheese, basil leaves, black pepper or a drizzle of Garlic olive oil.