Pomodoro Sauce

published Dec 18, 2021
Pomodoro Sauce Recipe

This quick and simple tomato sauce comes together with just a couple ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Serves4 to 6

Makes3 cups

Prep5 minutes

Cook23 minutes to 25 minutes

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pomodoro sauce on spaghetti in bowl
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

If you have a can of tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil, you have everything you need to make this easy Italian sauce. It’s a recipe that relishes its simplicity.

Rather than being muddied with lots of ingredients, this sauce lets the flavor of tomatoes be front and center. They’re kissed with garlic and, if you have it, a bit of basil, then simmered quickly to retain plenty of brightness. Toss the blended sauce with spaghetti or any favorite pasta shape and you have one perfectly uncomplicated dinner.

What’s the Difference Between Pomodoro and Marinara Sauce?

The main difference between pomodoro and marinara sauce is the texture of the sauces. Pomodoro sauce is blended until completely smooth, while marinara sauce is a little chunkier and more rustic in texture.

The other difference between the two sauces is in the ingredients. Pomodoro sauce is an intentionally simple sauce, with few aromatics and spices in addition to the garlic and sometimes basil. Marinara sauce can often contain other ingredients like onion and oregano.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Is Pomodoro Sauce Spicy?

Pomodoro sauce typically doesn’t contain red pepper flakes, so it isn’t spicy. It’s a bright, fresh sauce that really lets the tomatoes shine. However, if you like a little kick (I always do), adding a pinch of red pepper flakes while it simmers wouldn’t be out of place.

Our Favorite Ways to Use Pomodoro Sauce

Tossing this tomato sauce with your favorite pasta shape is just one of many ways to enjoy it. Here are a few other suggestions.

Pomodoro Sauce Recipe

This quick and simple tomato sauce comes together with just a couple ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 23 minutes to 25 minutes

Makes 3 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 3 cloves


  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1

    (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes

  • 1

    small sprig fresh basil (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed


  1. Smash and peel 3 garlic cloves.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and pale golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully pour in 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes and their juices. Add 1 large fresh basil sprig, if using, season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the sauce is slightly thickened, carefully breaking the tomatoes up a bit with a wooden spoon as they soften, about 20 minutes.

  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Remove and discard the basil sprig. Blend with an immersion blender directly in the pan until completely smooth. (Alternatively, transfer the mixture to a stand blender and blend until completely smooth.) Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The sauce can be made up to 1day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen sauce in the refrigerator overnight before rewarming in a saucepan over medium heat.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.