Classic Pomodoro Pasta sauce – like Marco Pierre White does it

Sometimes the best pasta dishes are the absolute simplest, where fresh ingredients shine.

So I have been watching Masterchef Australia which has sparked my cooking ignition again YAY. I mean I’m not back to making pasta from scratch or other crazy things just yet but i FEEL like cooking again.

Last night Marco Pierre White was on there showing the contestants how to make a classic pomodoro sauce. Guess what? He used a jar of passata in his sauce!!! He says that “as long as you end up with the desired outcome, it doesn’t matter how you got there” Good man! Basically, his reasoning is that in the UK and Aus, tomatoes are only in season for like 2 months of the year. The rest of the time, when you try make sauces using only fresh tomatoes, you will notice that the sauce is more orange than red, and that the tomatoes are more acidic, so thats why you add sugar.

By combining fresh tomatoes with GOOD QUALITY passata or jarred tomato sauce (because they will only make these in the seasons that tomatoes ARE in season) you get a bright red sauce, with the sweetness that you are after.

Some other tips from the master:

Grate your onion – this will reduce crying, get rid of the acidic moisture in the onion, and you wont get bits of onion in your sauce, only the flavour. TOP TIP.

Also, don’t drown your pasta in sauce, it should just lightly coat the pasta.


You’ll need:

500g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved

1 jar of passata, or tinned crushed tomatoes – good quality

1 large white onion, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cup fresh origanum, dont bother removing from stalks as we will be straining this sauce)

2 tsp chilli flakes (reduce to 1 if you don’t want to taste the bite)

2 cups fresh basil

a few sprigs origanum

olive oil

SEASONING: salt and pepper

parmesan for serving

pasta of choice to cook

Heat some olive oil in a deep pot. Add your onion and garlic. Fry off for a few minutes until translucent. Add 3/4’s of your cherry tomatoes, and cook for 8 minutes. Add the jar or tinned tomatoes. Fill that jar with water and add to the pot. Add half of your fresh basil stalks and all. SEASON




Cook this for 40 minutes on low. In a separate pan, heat some olive oil and add the rest of your tomatoes, as well as the chilli flakes. This will be the texture in your sauce as you will be straining the rest. Add the fresh basil. SEASON


Once your pot of sauce has been simmering for 40 minutes, check your seasoning, if happy – remove and strain over a sieve. Cook your pasta of choice according to packet instructions.

Add your cooked pasta to your pan of tomatoes, and add JUST as much of your strained sauce as you need. You could also add some cream if you want a creamy pasta sauce.


Sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan over and enjoy!


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