Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Simple, Perfect Pasta al Pomodoro

Is there anything more simple, and also more comforting, than tucking into a big ol' bowl of spaghetti? I'm not above boiling some pasta and heating sauce straight from a jar, especially on a weeknight, but when I came across this recipe for Pasta al Pomodoro in the May issue of Bon Appetit, I knew this was a simple recipe that I could rely on any day of the week. Really, it's just perfect as a go-to recipe when you don't feel like cooking much but you want something really satisfying and good for the soul.

The recipe is not up on their website yet, so I can't give you a link, but I will print my veganized version below. It's quite easy, the only changes I made were to substitute Earth Balance for butter and I used a vegan Parmesan.

Pasta al Pomodoro (adapted from recipe in Bon Appetit, May 2011)
serves 4

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (I like the fire-roasted kind, but any kind is fine)
salt, to taste
3 large fresh basil sprigs, plus extra fresh basil for garnish
12 oz. spaghetti
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance
1/4 cup vegan Parmesan (I like Galaxy brand best)

1. Heat olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 - 12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 2 - 4 minutes. Add pinch of red pepper flakes and cook one minute longer.

2. Increase heat to medium, add tomatoes and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in 3 fresh basil sprigs, and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, boil spaghetti according to instructions. About 2 minutes before it is tender, drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

4. Discard basil sprigs and heat skillet over high heat. Stir in reserved pasta water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring, until sauce evenly coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Note: at this point, I think the sauce is perfectly fine as is. You could certainly save yourself some calories by leaving off the next step (not that I would ever judge you for the extra calories), but if you really want to take this sauce to the next level, continue as instructed. The EB and vegan parmesan really give this sauce a silky, luxurious texture and an extra richness.

5. Add Earth Balance and vegan parmesan; toss until evenly and well coated. Transfer to serving bowls, garnish with fresh basil chiffonade and additional vegan parmesan, if desired.


  1. Yum! I drooled over the magazine when I received it. The whole issue is wonderful! Your version sounds scrumptious!

  2. I am always searching for the perfect homemade marinara! This looks fantastic. Spaghetti has been my favorite food since childhood, and NO - there is no dish more comforting. :)

  3. Gauri Radha गौरी राधाMay 7, 2011 at 2:39 AM

    Looks good!!
    I love vegan pasta dishes.

  4. Thanks for sharing this one. It really looks good. I think this is a gluten free pasta. I will try this at home.