Des

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Pasta Pomodoro

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 is a classic for a reason. With just a handful of ingredients you can have a hearty meatless dinner on the table in 20 minutes. 

What is pasta pomodoro?

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.

Pasta Pomodoro or capellini pomodoro is a quick and easy pasta dish perfect for weeknights!

Capellini Pasta vs Spaghetti

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.

Pasta Pomodoro or capellini pomodoro is a quick and easy pasta dish perfect for weeknights!

I would avoid the flat pastas like fettuccine or linguine and save those for use with heartier sauces.

How do you make pasta pomodoro?

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.

Pasta Pomodoro or capellini pomodoro is a quick and easy pasta dish perfect for weeknights!

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:

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Pasta Amatriciana 

Shrimp and Scallop Pasta

 Aglio e Olio

Pulled Pork Pasta

Note: This post was originally written in 2008. It was updated in 2020.

Pasta Pomodoro Recipe

Serves 6 Prep Time: Cook Time:
5 based on 16 reviews

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon salt for pasta water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1

Start the pot of water for your noodles according to the package directions.

2

Meanwhile heat the extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once heated, about a minute or so, 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.

3

Add noodles to the tomato sauce and stir to combine (Note: Make sure you strain as much water as possible from the noodles before adding them to the sauce). Cook over medium heat until the noodles are warmed through. About 3-5 minutes.

Notes

Please note nutrition facts not guaranteed.

Nutrition information

Calories: 288 , Total Fat: 6.7g , Saturated Fat: 1g , Cholesterol: 55mg , Sodium: 1190mg , Carbohydrates: 47.9g , Fiber: 1.9g , Sugar: 3.9g , Protein: 9.9g

Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    Debbie
    September 3, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    Made for supper tonight and it was delicious. Will make again for sure.

    • Reply
      Deseree
      September 3, 2020 at 8:59 pm

      So happy to hear that!

  • Reply
    Debbie
    September 2, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    I want to make this for dinner, but have a question, do you strain the liquid from the canned tomatoes or just dump in the whole can?

    • Reply
      Deseree
      September 2, 2020 at 1:43 pm

      Hi Debbie! You can dump in the whole can :)

  • Reply
    Latina
    August 11, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    I have recently become a pescatarian and this meal fit my needs perfectly. I didn’t even miss the meat. It was simple yet very flavorful. This is definitely going in the rotation.

    • Reply
      Deseree
      August 11, 2020 at 6:36 pm

      That is so great to hear Latina! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Norma Glennie
    July 22, 2020 at 10:00 am

    My absolute favorite at Olive Garden but they don’t carry it on the menu any more so if you ask for it and they have the ingredients (and I’m sure if the cook knows the recipe) they will make it for you. So glad to have this recipe and I will be trying it out!!! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Sandra
    April 21, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    This will quickly become a favorite meal at my house!

  • Reply
    Toni
    April 19, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    I loved it! Packed full of delicious flavors!!

  • Reply
    Sara Welch
    April 19, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Enjoyed this for dinner last night; it was easy and delicious and exactly what I needed! Easily, a new family favorite dish!

  • Reply
    Catalina
    April 18, 2020 at 7:23 am

    This pasta seems so fresh and flavorful! Yummy!

  • Reply
    Cathy
    April 17, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    One of my favorites from Olive Garden and this is SO much better!

  • Reply
    Jen
    April 17, 2020 at 6:37 am

    I love how light and delicious this is! I was lucky enough to have all of the ingredients in my kitchen.

    • Reply
      Deseree
      April 17, 2020 at 11:01 pm

      Love when that happens!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 16, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    This is by far my favorite pasta dish!

    • Reply
      Deseree
      April 16, 2020 at 5:55 pm

      So happy to hear Amanda! Ours too!

  • Reply
    Carmella
    April 4, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    Delicious, just what I wanted and so quick! I added fresh grated Parmesan but next time I’d leave it off. Thank you really delicious

    • Reply
      Deseree
      April 5, 2020 at 9:38 am

      You are so welcome! So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Laura
    February 3, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    This was really good. Used 4 large cloves garlic, fresh grape tomatoes cut in half, bacon bits and sprinkled with sweet paprika. Served with chicken Parmesan. Used the rest of ingredients as recipe reads. I also used 2 tablespoons of butter with olive oil to cook onions and garlic. I added about 2 tablespoons of my homemade garlic butter at the end.

  • Reply
    Sandra | A Dash of Sanity
    August 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Looks like a perfect dinner any night of the week!

  • Reply
    Catalina
    August 15, 2018 at 7:15 am

    This is a classic! The simplest dishes are always the best!

  • Reply
    Jamielyn
    August 15, 2018 at 6:56 am

    So yummy! My family would love this!

  • Reply
    Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert
    August 15, 2018 at 6:25 am

    I love easy meals like this for busy weeknights!

  • Reply
    Delaney | Melanie Makes
    August 14, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    I want to have this for dinner!

  • Reply
    Deseree
    June 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Janice- Do you mean made in another pot and then just kept warm in the crock pot? I think that would work fine. There isn’t too much of a sauce so if it is kept low the noodles shouldn’t get soggy. If you are talking about cooking the whole thing in the crock pot I am not sure. I have heard of people cooking pasta in a crock pot but I’ve never tried it.

  • Reply
    Janice Mawson
    June 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Could this be made and kept warm in a crock pot to serve a large crowd?

  • Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

    Have new recipes emailed to you.