Bucatini Pomodoro: A simple, delicious, and oh-so-satisfying pasta recipe that features tomatoes, garlic, butter, and basil. Serve this authentic pasta recipe as the main dish or as a hearty side. Ready in 20 minutes and family-friendly!
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Make dinner time simple but delicious with this bucatini pomodoro pasta recipe. Tender bucatini noodles are tossed in a rich sauce for a satisfying dinner the whole family will love.
Long gone are the days of simmering tomato sauce for hours on end; enjoy a home-cooked Italian pasta recipe in less than 20 minutes! Best of all, pasta pomodoro is made with simple cooking techniques and with common pantry staples, making it a beginner-friendly recipe. It is the perfect pasta recipe for almost any occasion.
Check this simple pasta recipe out tonight and save it for the next time you are short on time or energy but are still craving a delicious dinner!
What Is Bucatini Pomodoro?
Also known as bucatini al pomodoro or pasta al pomodoro, bucatini pomodoro translates from Italian to "bucatini tomato." The dish is made by tossing al dente bucatini pasta in the pomodoro sauce, or butter and garlic-infused tomato sauce, before being finished off with parmesan cheese and torn basil.
Though seemingly a simple tomato sauce, it is perfectly balanced, lightly cheesy, and contains just the right amount of acid, making for a comforting side or light main dish.
Why You'll Love this Bucatini Pomodoro Recipe
- Quick Dinner: If you're looking for a tasty meal that is ready with minimal cooking, this dish is for you! It's ready in just 20 minutes. Simmer the tomato sauce while the pasta cooks and toss the hot pasta in the sauce right before serving.
- Easy Recipe: With just a few simple steps, this bucatini pasta recipe is truly a no-fuss dinner!
- Family-Friendly: This easy pasta recipe will be a hit with everyone in the family. If you are concerned about the spice level in the recipe, just reduce or omit the red pepper flakes.
- Made with Simple Ingredients: Find the ingredients at almost any major grocery store though they may already be in your pantry!
- Bucatini: A long spaghetti-like pasta that has a long hole running the shape of it. Dried pasta works just fine in this recipe, but opt for fresh pasta if you can find it. You can find dried bucatini at most major grocery stores, Whole Foods, and on Amazon.
- Canned Tomatoes: Go for a quality brand like Pomì or Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes, or another brand of San Marzano tomatoes, if possible.
- Butter: Opt for unsalted butter if possible. Extra virgin olive oil can substitute for the butter in a pinch, but unsalted butter adds depth and richness to the tomato-based sauce that is unparalleled.
- Garlic: Choose minced fresh garlic cloves for superior flavor.
- Red Pepper Chili Flakes: Adds a bit of zip, making the perfect complement to the richness of the butter and the acidity of the
- Parmesan Cheese: Grated is best, though shredded can also work in a pinch.
- Fresh Basil Leaves: Torn or chopped.
- Salt: For salting the pasta water. Choose sea salt or kosher salt.
How to Make Bucatini Pomodoro
For the complete recipe and measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Boil the bucatini in heavily salted water according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving at least 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Step 2: Heat the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet or large pot over medium heat. Once foaming, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic is golden brown and fragrant.
Step 3: Stir the canned tomatoes into the garlic and butter mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the has thickened and turned a deep red color, stirring the sauce occasionally while simmering.
Step 4: Turn the heat down to low. Stir the grated parmesan cheese into the sauce until combined. Stir in the cooked pasta until it is coated in the sauce. Stir in pasta water to thin the sauce if desired.
Step 5: Sprinkle the hot pasta with basil and additional parmesan cheese to serve.
- Use Good Quality Tomatoes. The flavor of the tomatoes is front and center, so use good-quality tomatoes if possible.
- Cook the Pasta in Heavily Salted Water. Salt enhances the flavor of the pasta while not adding a substantial amount of sodium to the recipe. Add at least 1 tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water, or until the water tastes like the sea.
- Cook the Pasta Al Dente. Translating to "to the tooth," al dente means to cook the pasta until it is tender, but still firm. The pasta cooking process will continue in the hot tomato sauce, so underboiling it a bit will prevent it from getting mushy.
- Thin the Pomodoro Sauce with Pasta Water. If the pasta sauce is too thick after tossing the pasta in it, drizzle and toss in additional pasta water to thin it.
- Spicy: Add a bit of kick to the tomato bucatini by doubling the red pepper chili flakes or substituting
- Cheesy: Serve the pasta pomodoro with burrata cheese and pine nuts for an extra creamy and cheesy finish!
- Meaty: Add some extra staying power to pomodoro pasta by simmering crumbled cooked Italian sausage with the tomato and garlic mixture.
- Garlicky: Can't get enough of that garlic flavor? Drizzle garlic oil over the finished dish and sprinkle with pine nuts, if desired, before serving.
Serve large bowls of pasta pomodoro topped with torn basil leaves or chopped fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese to pass.
For extra hungry nights, serve the pasta with panko parmesan chicken and air fryer garlic bread. Glasses of light red wine (such as Pinot Noir) or dry white wine (Pinot Grigio) are delightful complements to the dish as well.
- Vegan & Dairy-Free: Make this pomodoro bucatini recipe plant-based by using vegan butter and vegan parmesan cheese.
- Gluten-Free: Make this recipe sans gluten or any wheat products by using gluten-free fettuccine or linguine.
- Refrigeration: Leftover bucatini keeps covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Reheat it on medium-high heat in the microwave for 1-minute intervals, or until warmed through
- Freezing: The pasta can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag for up to 3 months. Defrost the pasta in the refrigerator overnight, or until thawed through and reheat in the microwave.
In a pinch, other long pasta shapes like linguine, fettuccine, or pappardelle can substitute for bucatini.
Pomodoro sauce is made from quickly simmering canned chopped tomatoes in an olive oil or butter and herb mixture whereas marinara is a long-simmered mixture of pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, seasonings, and more.
Tools Needed to Make This Recipe
More Pasta Recipes
- Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina
- Turkey Bolognese
- Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta
- Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Peas
- Garlic Angel Hair Pasta
- Pesto Gnocchi
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