This pasta alla pomarola is a great way to preserve all of those end-of-summer tomatoes for use all winter long! It is full of fresh tomato-basil flavor and freezes well so you can enjoy it even when tomatoes are out of season.
A homesteader I am decidedly not, but if there’s one thing this quarantine has taught me it’s how to stock my freezer to save myself from having to make dinner a few times a month.
When you’ve been making three meals a day for going on six months…every little bit helps.
Moms out there everywhere are nodding their heads in aggressive agreement.
I see you. I am you.
Pair that with my desire to preserve all of summer’s rich bountiful produce for future consumption, and you come to my absolute delight when I discovered this pomarola sauce in Samin Nosrat’s outstanding Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. A tome that is as educational as it is delicious, this book is rife with well tested recipes and techniques that help to teach the fundamentals of cooking and flavor while also providing you with dinner tonight.
This pomarola sauce is the perfect example of this. It is extremely versatile, giving options for using fresh OR canned tomatoes (or a combination of the two!) so you really can make it year-round without having to compromise on flavor. It does take a little bit of legwork to get it made (about an hour total) but the finished product makes enough to sauce 3-4 pounds of pasta, so I would say it’s well worth the effort. Make a batch now for an easy and delicious pasta dinner this week, and freeze the extras for your future frazzled self to stumble upon during a weeknight dinner frenzy.
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium red or yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 lb fresh, ripe tomatoes or 2 (28 oz) cans whole San Marzano tomatoes in their juice
- 16 fresh basil leaves
- 1 lb rigatoni (or spaghetti, bucatini, penne, etc)
- ricotta and red pepper flakes, for serving
- Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a few tbsp of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Once it is shimmering and hot, add the onions.
- Season with a pinch of salt and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring until soft and starting to caramelize.
- While the onions cook, slice the garlic and quarter the tomatoes if fresh. If using canned tomatoes, pour them into a large bowl and crush them with your hands.
- Once the onions are ready, push them to the edge of the pot and add another tbsp or two of olive oil to the center of the pot. Add in the garlic and allow it to cook for 20 seconds. Add in the tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Season with salt and fresh basil.
- Simmer over low heat for about 25-40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom. You'll know it's done when the tomatoes start to taste cooked rather than raw. Bring the sauce back to a simmer and stir in ¾ cup of olive oil. Let it simmer until the olive oil has completely emulsified and combined with the sauce, then remove from the heat. Puree the sauce either using a countertop blender or an immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with 2-3 cups of the pomarola sauce. Divide among serving bowls and serve with a dash of red pepper flakes and a dollop of ricotta on top.
- The pomarola sauce recipe makes about 8 cups, so you will have extra. Divide the remaining sauce into 2 mason jars and freeze for up to 3 months.
Cooking note: The recipe for pomarola sauce makes enough to sauce 3-4 pounds of pasta. Freeze the extra sauce in 2 cup aliquots to have on hand for an easy weeknight meal.