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Perfect Pomodoro Sauce With Capellini

Perfect Pomodoro Sauce With Capellini 6.000

Dixie D. Vereen for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Aug 14, 2016

This simple dish of angel-hair pasta and a quick tomato sauce is just what you want to eat when tomatoes are at their glorious peak and you don't want to spend much time in the kitchen.

Use the best tomatoes you can find, ripe and fragrant, and don't skip the pat of butter, which helps pull everything together.

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 5 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, stemmed, hulled and chopped (about 5 cups), including their juices
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, plus more as needed
  • 1 pound dried capellini (angel-hair pasta)
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped, plus a few small whole leaves for optional garnish
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (may substitute non-dairy butter)


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the garlic (to taste), salt and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant but not burned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (If you burn the garlic, use a slotted spoon to scoop it out of the oil and proceed; if you leave it in, it will ruin the sauce.) Add the tomatoes and their juices and the sugar; cook until reduced and thickened, 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes. Taste, and add more salt and/or sugar, as needed.

While the sauce is cooking, prepare the pasta: Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just under-done, about 1 minute before the cooking time recommended in the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to its (now empty) pot.

Check on your sauce. If you like it chunky, leave it as is. Or pulse it a few times using an immersion (stick) blender, to make it smoother. Stir in the chopped basil and butter.

Pour into the cooked capellini; use tongs to incorporate it and coat the pasta. Let the capellini finish cooking in the sauce over medium heat until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste, and add a little more salt, as needed. If the sauce has become too thick, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking water at a time until you like the consistency.

Serve right away, garnished with a few basil leaves, if desired.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation," by Alexandra Caspero Lenz (Page Street Publishing, 2016).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 8): 310

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 10g 15%

Saturated Fat: 2g 10%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 210mg 9%

Total Carbohydrates: 47g 16%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: 6g

Protein: 8g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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