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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Pasta alla Tavernara | Simple Italian Tomato Pasta

This Neapolitan tomato sauce recipe is unique in its simplicity, using just tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper and cheese! Don't be fooled, though: like so many simple Italian dishes it's greater than the sum of its parts.

Pasta alla Tavernara | Simple Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe

Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:

Serves 2.

For this recipe, you will need:

- 14 oz. (400g) tomato purée or canned whole peeled tomatoes, crushed with a fork

- 3-4 fresh basil leaves

- Salt

- Fresh black pepper

- 5.5 oz. (160g) spaghetti

- Grated pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for topping

Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. While it comes up to temp, begin cooking the sauce.

Add the tomatoes into a large skillet over medium heat. Tear in the basil and bring the sauce to a simmer.

Cook the tomatoes until they thicken to your desired consistency (the time required depends on how watery the tomatoes are). Salt them to taste, and add plenty of black pepper to give them some zing! Continue to simmer the sauce as you cook the pasta, adding a spoonful of pasta water when needed to maintain the consistency.

Salt the pasta water generously and add the spaghetti. Cook as directed, but set a timer for 1-2 minutes less than the recommended "al dente" cook time. When the pasta is ready, use tongs to transfer it into the sauce.

Turn up the heat to medium/high and stir all together for a few minutes until the pasta is al dente to your taste. Add more pasta water into the pan as necessary to maintain moisture.

Serve immediately, topped with extra sauce from the pan and grated pecorino. Buon appetito!

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Mar 27, 2022

While this does look amazing, 400 g of passata for just 160 g of pasta doesn't sound quite right. Isn't that like double the usual amount for a tomato sauce? Sorry, if I'm being an oaf and missing something.

Apr 01, 2022
Replying to

Hi. In our house we tend to like heavy sauce, so I thought the same thing...but I made it as written (ok...I DID add a little onion). The key is the cooking the pasta last couple of minutes in the sauce. By doing that, it became fully integrated, creamy and there was plenty. :-)

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