Pomarola ~ Simple fresh tomato and basil sauce

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Pomarola ~ Simple fresh tomato and basil sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Category: First Courses, Pastas, Summer, Vegetable, Vegetarian

Servings: 4


During our cooking vacations in Italy, we teach you various tomato sauces, some that are packed with tasty vegetables and some that have a purer tomato taste. This simple sauce relies on good, tasty, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and a good olive oil.


  • 400 g/12 oz. ripe (but not squashy) tomatoes
  • 10-15 leaves fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered
  • Pasta quantities: these are very subjective, but for a light sauce such as this one, calculate 80-100 g/3-4 oz as a starter, or 160-180 g/5-6 oz as a main course.


  1. Leave the tomatoes in just-boiled water for a few minutes. Remove from the water and the skins should slip off easily.
  2. Dice the tomatoes. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and add the garlic.
  3. Fry for a few seconds, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Add the diced tomato and cook very little, just enough to soften the tomato (2-3 minutes approx). If using canned tomatoes, cook for longer. Add salt and plenty of black pepper. Tear the basil leaves and add to the sauce.
  5. If you like, press the garlic through a garlic press back into the sauce. If not, discard. Stir well.
  6. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water, salted just before you add the pasta. Cook it al dente (a good minute or two less than the packet instructions, until it is cooked but still firm to the bite).
  7. In a warmed bowl, combine the pasta with the pasta sauce. Add a good swirl of raw olive oil. Either add freshly grated Parmesan cheese now or at the table.

5 replies
  1. KevinT
    KevinT says:

    In my family tradition, we would have called this recipe really a fresh tomato MARINARA. My (Neapolitan) family’s pomerola is a meat sauce (pork and beef) using tomatoes and some tomato paste all of which would take about an hour to be ready for dressing pasta.

  2. Riccardo
    Riccardo says:

    What you call “marinara” is called salsa di pomodoro or pomarola in Italy. Pomarola here is never with meat.

  3. Stephen H
    Stephen H says:

    A sugo di pomarola I was given in Firenze from a little trattoria included carrots and celery. Does this exist anywhere else?

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