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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Pasta ai Cinque Pomodori | The ULTIMATE Tomato Pasta Recipe

For some time, Italian chefs have experimented with “Pasta ai Tre Pomodori” (“Three Tomato Pasta”) or “Pasta ai Quattro Pomodori” (“Four Tomato Pasta”). These dishes are meant to elevate a simple tomato sauce by incorporating multiple types of tomatoes into the sauce.

Pasta ai Cinque Pomodori | The ULTIMATE Tomato Pasta Recipe

We decided to take things up a notch and invent “Pasta ai Cinque Pomodori.” This is the ULTIMATE tomato-lovers pasta, with five types of tomatoes (including tomato-flavored fresh pasta). This is perhaps not a quick weeknight plate of pasta, but it is extraordinarily delicious and worth the effort to try at least once.

The Tomatoes You’ll Need to Make This Recipe

As the name suggests, you’ll need five different varieties of tomatoes to make Pasta ai Cinque Pomodori:

It’s very important that the fresh tomatoes are ripe and in season! If you don’t have good tomatoes available, it’s best to stick to a simple tomato sauce using canned tomatoes, which are always better than fresh tomatoes out of season.

Watch the Pasta Grammar video here:


Makes: 4 Servings

Cook Time: About 3 hours

For this recipe, you will need:

  • About 25 fresh cherry tomatoes, cut in half

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt

  • A pinch of sugar

  • About 15 leaves fresh basil, divided

  • 3 cloves garlic, divided

  • 12 fresh plum tomatoes

  • 14 ounces (400 g) canned cherry tomatoes

  • 14 ounces (400 g) canned yellow cherry tomatoes

  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour

  • 1 ⅓ cups (160 g) semolina flour

  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) tomato paste

  • About ½ cup (120 ml) water

Preheat the oven to 395°F (200°C).

Mix the fresh cherry tomatoes with a generous drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, a pinch of sugar, a few torn basil leaves, and one chopped garlic clove. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the tomato skins are wrinkled and tender. Mix the cherry tomatoes occasionally as they bake so that they cook evenly. When the tomatoes are cooked, remove from the oven and set aside for later.

While the cherry tomatoes bake, crush the plum tomatoes with your hands into a pot. The tomatoes don’t need to be completely broken up, you just want to burst the skin with your thumbs. Cook them over medium heat, covered, until the tomatoes are tender and have released their juices—about 10 to 15 minutes.

Working in batches, ladle the plum tomatoes into a vegetable mill suspended over a pot. Mill the tomatoes into a puree. Remove the skins from the mill and proceed to mill the canned red cherry tomatoes into the same pot.

Add 2 tablespoons (30 g) olive oil, 1 peeled garlic clove, about 5 basil leaves, and a big pinch of salt into the puree. Simmer over medium heat, partially covered, until the sauce thickens to your liking—about 20 to 30 minutes. Salt again to taste, turn off the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a separate small pot, combine the canned yellow cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon (15 g) olive oil, 1 peeled garlic clove, about 5 basil leaves, and a pinch of salt. Cook just like the red tomato sauce: simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, partially covered. As the cherry tomatoes cook and start to become tender, crush them with a fork. Salt again to taste, turn off the heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the all-purpose and semolina flours together. With a fork, stir in the tomato paste and 1 ½ teaspoons (7 g) extra-virgin olive oil. Gradually add water (you’ll need about ½ cup or 120 ml, adjusted by feel) while continuing to mix by hand. Stop adding water once you have achieved a dough that is soft but firm and not sticky.

Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Wrap in plastic and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Cut a small chunk of dough off and keep the rest wrapped in plastic while you work. Underneath your palms, roll the dough into a long snake about the width of your pinky finger. Cut the snake into 2 inch (5 cm) segments. Take one dough piece and roll it under your hands into a long, round strand—it should resemble a thick worm (apologies, it’s not the most appetizing analogy). Check out the video above to see the technique in action!

Arrange the finished pasta strands on a clean towel, taking care to prevent them from touching each other. Repeat to roll the remaining pasta dough into finished pasta. Lightly dust the pasta with flour to prevent sticking later.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt it generously. Carefully gather the pasta and drop it into the water. Gently stir to prevent sticking. Boil the pasta for 2 to 4 minutes, or until al dente to your taste. Meanwhile, warm the red and yellow tomato sauces on the stovetop again. Add about ⅓ of the baked cherry tomatoes into the red tomato sauce.

Using tongs or a large slotted spoon, transfer the cooked pasta into the red tomato sauce. Stir all together over medium/high heat until the pasta is completely coated in sauce. Serve immediately, topped with a few spoonfuls of yellow tomato sauce and the remaining cherry tomatoes as garnish.

Buon appetito!

Want to get back to the basics? You have to try a classic, simple tomato sauce. Can't get enough tomato flavor? Check out our tomato sauce recipe made from just cherry tomatoes!

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