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You say tomato, I say pomodoro, but who really cares when it tastes this good and does so much?
Italians are serious about their sauces—almost as serious as the French! But what you might not know is that the tomato—and therefore, tomato sauce—wasn’t part of the Italian diet until the 1800s. It seems crazy to think that this Italian-American staple is actually a relative newcomer to traditional Italian cuisine.
There are as many iterations of tomato sauce as there are nonnas—each one, no doubt, the best!—and this is my version. Unlike a slow-simmering sugo or ragu, this true pomodoro sauce is quick and light. It has only a handful of ingredients, so using the best quality you can find is essential. My secret is to use San Marzano tomatoes, which come from just outside Naples—they’re the best—and Parmesan rinds for an extra punch of flavor.
Of course, my pomodoro goes well with spaghetti, freshly grated Parmesan, and a sprig of basil—simple, but so satisfying! But this do-anything sauce isn’t just for spaghetti. For starters, it goes well with pasta of all shapes and sizes, with ravioli, manicotti, and lasagna. It’s also a great dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks, the perfect accompaniment to meatballs, and the essential middle layer for chicken or veal Parmesan. Reach for it whenever you’d reach for a jar of store-bought marinara.