Pasta Pomodoro is a classic simple pasta dish with tomatoes, olive oil, onions and garlic. It is a hearty meatless dinner you can have on the table in 20 minutes.
When it comes to meatless dishes, I have to say, my guys aren’t usually fans. I try to cook meatless once a week and each time I get the dreaded “where’s the meat question?”
But not with pasta pomodoro.
When I make Pasta Pomodoro my boys gobble it up and there is no mention of the lack of meat. There is just something about the classic combo of tomato sauce, basil and pasta that make this dish a family favorite.
And it has been a favorite of my husband’s dating all the way back to our Olive Garden date night’s as teenagers. This recipe is my version of that restaurant classic.
The best part of all, is that this quick, easy, family friendly meal can be on your table in 20 minutes!
Pasta Pomodoro, or Capellini Pomodoro as it is often called, could not be simpler. Pomodoro literally means “tomato” in Italian. It is essentially thin pasta and a simple tomato sauce. In the case of this recipe, the tomato sauce is made with canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil and a little crushed red pepper.
While the crushed red pepper adds a little bit of heat, it is not overpowering and my kiddos will still eat it. If you’re worried leave them out and then put them in a bowl on the table so everyone can add their desired amount.
Sometimes when I stand in the pasta aisle, I am amazed at all of the different varieties available. There are different shapes, different sizes and different colors. For this dish you’re going to want to use a rod shaped pasta.
Rod shaped pastas are usually long pastas. And, to make things extra confusing, there are different thicknesses. From bucatini which is a thick to Angel Hair which is the thinnest. And traditional spaghetti falls somewhere in the middle. Most often, pasta pomodoro is made with capellini or angel hair pasta but any rod shaped pasta will do.
I would avoid the flat pastas like fettuccine or linguine and save those for use with heartier sauces.
My favorite thing about this capellini pomorodo recipe is that it is done in under 30 minutes.
STEP #1: Start your water and boil the pasta according to package directions.
STEP #2: Meanwhile heat the extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, basil and crushed red pepper. Saute until onions and garlic are slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and salt and pepper, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer while you wait for your noodles to finish.
STEP #3: After draining the noodles, add them to the pasta and toss to coat.
If you want to add some protein to this dish, grilled chicken or sautéed shrimp would be perfect!
Finally, because carbs are life, I always serve my pastas with a side of the best (and easiest!) garlic bread. And wine. Obviously.
If you love this Pasta Pomodoro recipe, check out my other pasta recipes! Here are some of my favorites:
Note: This post was originally written in 2008. It was updated in 2020.