Pasta Pomodoro


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 This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Barilla. The opinions and text are all mine

Did you guys follow along on my epic Italian adventure 2 weeks back for the Barilla® Pasta World Championship? It was EPIC in every single way. All kinds of pasta, every which way, and an entire day dedicated to Pasta Pomodoro. I mean, what more could you ask for?

Pasta Pomodoro from (@whatsgabycookin)

Pasta Pomodoro is the quintessential Italian pasta dish. It’s a classic dating back to before I was born and it’s really quite special. The ingredients are simple and it’s all about execution.

Pasta Pomodoro from (@whatsgabycookin)

While we were in Milan for the Pasta World Championship, we watched 19 chefs whip up their interpretation of the future of pasta, followed by the second day when everyone did their take on the classic Pasta Pomodoro. There was an endless amount of inspiration and below, you’ll find my interpretation. A few things that rang true across the board for each chef – it’s all about great tomatoes, some form of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, fresh basil, and, of course, pasta.

Pasta Pomodoro from (@whatsgabycookin)

Most chefs used spaghetti- in fact, I think almost all of them did – but I have a soft spot in my heart for bucatini. First, it’s just fun to say. Second, I love that it has a bit more of a bite to it as it has a hollow center. (Side note – we went to the Barilla factory right outside of Parma and it’s the most FASCINATING thing ever to watch pasta get made – no joke I could have watched it for hours).

Pasta Pomodoro from (@whatsgabycookin)

So… while unfortunately, I can’t teleport all of us to Italy right this very minute, at least I can provide a recipe for Pasta Pomodoro that will make you feel like you’re in Italy!! Have at it! xx

Pasta Pomodoro from (@whatsgabycookin)

Pasta Pomodoro  



  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28- ounce can San Marzano tomatoes puréed in a food processor
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh basil
  • 1 box Barilla bucatini or spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons cubed unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano


  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 2-4 minutes. Add crushed red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute more. Increase heat to medium, add puréed tomatoes and season lightly with kosher salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and the flavors meld, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in basil, and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a large pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
  • Discard basil and heat skillet over high heat. Stir in reserved pasta water to loosen sauce; bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add butter and cheese; toss until cheese melts. Transfer to warm bowls; serve with more cheese and more basil, if desired.

Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking

This post is brought to you by Barilla. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for What’s Gaby Cooking**

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Recipe Rating


  1. Marie-Louise Kelday

    I know that I have not acknowledged your great recipes, and for that I truly apologize. Your recipes are wonderful and easy to follow. Mille mercis! A thousand times thank you.

  2. Agness of Run Agness Run

    I cannot resist a good pasta recipe and your recipe is simply jaw-dropping! Can’t wait to try your recipe! Is it possible to use red instead of yellow onions?

  3. monika

    I am a pasta gal. Love everything with pasta. Love all the different shapes. Have not yet met a pasta I didn’t love. This pomodoro is going to be another favorite – I can tell already!!!

  4. Grant Wice

    My wife ordered this in ew York City last fall. We loved it so now we make it a home. Your recipe is definitely the best. We just made your recipe for the first time and love it. Thank you.