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Italian Cherry Tomato Sauce Recipe for Pasta; Garlic with Spaghetti, and Onion with Fettucine!

Updated on March 17, 2016
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Penelope has three grandchildren, two girls and one boy- so far. They have beautiful names! She writes stories and she tells them stories.

Cherry Tomatoes for Pasta Sauce

Cherry tomatoes for pasta sauce!
Cherry tomatoes for pasta sauce! | Source

Italian Cherry Tomato Sauce for Spaghetti and Fettuccine

5 stars for Cherry Tomato Sauce for Spagetti and Fettuccine

Sunshine on Your Tastebuds.

Here in Southern Tuscany, hard on the heel of tradition, if you make a spaghetti sauce with cherry tomatoes, you need to make it with finely chopped garlic. If you make a fettuccine sauce (or other egg noodle) your need very, very finely chopped onion instead.

By now, all the summer and late summer pulpy san marzano tomatoes have been harvested and canned. Our jars, here in our farmhouse in the Maremma (Italy) are stacked in the barns downstairs; we'll be using them through the winter for minestrone, for fish sauces, all sorts of sauces, even as a simple tomato sauce. We really relish a plate of pasta over Christmas with a sauce made from our own tomatoes. It breaks from all those rich 'holiday' dishes. It's a ray of sunshine on the taste buds.

But, since there are so many lovely fresh red cherry tomatoes out on the shelves right now, between the squash, the root vegetables and green leaved ones, I find it hard to pass them over. I just feel like tasting some zing again. Am I the only one, or don't you, want to remember how sweet the summer was, again? And again?

There are a few secrets here in Maremma to making a fresh cherry tomato pasta sauce really, really good. This is authentic Italian cooking my neighbor farming housewives taught me when we came to live here 27 years ago - and as always it is simple; the secret to it's fine taste is in the fresh quality of the produce, its preparation (meticulous) and always - in the timing!

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce.
Spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce. | Source

Spaghetti Sauce and Fettucine Sauce.

For the most authentic taste, try to buy the reddest cherry tomatoes you can find. Or buy them red and let them turn redder by putting them in a bowl somewhere outside the refrigerator. They can even look a bit old when you use them. Trying to describe the best red color the tomatoes can be, I came up with 'Science Fiction Red' because of that metallic hue you notice shine off their skins. THAT's the red, though I bet no one's going to turn your platter down if they are just a red RED!.

It makes a keen difference but if you make a spaghetti sauce with cherry tomatoes, you need to make it with finely chopped garlic.

If you make a fettuccine sauce (or other egg noodle) with the tomatoes, then your sauce needs to be made with a very, very finely chopped onion.

spaghetti needs garlic.

fettuccine (egg noodle pasta) needs onion

How to Make the Sauces

So here follows how to make the sauces. Either one is extremely simple to make and takes no time at all. In fact you put your large pan of water on to boil, salt it the way you like, light up and in the time it takes to come to a boil you can make the sauce. And set the table. And light the candles.

Ingredients for a pasta sauce for 2-4 people:

1lb cherry tomatoes, 4/5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, pepperoncino to taste, salt. (parmigiano optional)...either half a small onion, or a few cloves of garlic.

How to!

You wash your cherry tomatoes and dry them very well. You don't want excess water at all.

Cut them in half, squeeze excess tomato juice out of them.

If you are making spaghetti finely chop up your garlic.

If you are making fettuccine, finely chop up your onion (red one is the best)

Put a shallow pan on the cooker, pour several tablespoons of virgin olive oil in and heat it up.

Toss in either your onion or your garlic with some chilli pepper (if you like it spicy). Cook it a minute, but don't brown the onion or the garlic!

Add the halved cherry tomatoes and salt to taste and cook quite quickly till the peels come off, turning quite a lot. It takes no more than about 5 minutes-8 minutes. Small holes bubble in the sauce. It's done then, not before.

It all has to be made quickly - to keep the very fresh tomato taste, (which is why you drained the tomatoes at the start). If the tomatoes are too liquidy, then they need to cook for longer and if you cook for longer, then you will lose the fresh taste. Add a few leaves of fresh basil if you have it. (Nice to have a pot growing through the winter, just for this!)

Pass through a sieve (if the peel bothers you).

Drain your pasta, (please don't overcook it), quickly toss it into your beautiful serving bowl and deftly, quickly pour your tomato sauce over it and mix well.

Serve. If you are serving spaghetti, then you don't really need parmigiano (here in Maremma, we don't use it when we cook with garlic, as a rule). We tend to make the sauce hotter with pepperoncino, but that is a preference.

If you are serving fettuccine, then yes, Parmigiano is very good!

A bottle of chilled mineral water is perfect with this meal. As is a chilled glass of Vermentino white wine (something very light and summery).

Buon appetito!

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© 2011 Penelope Hart


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    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Brava! So nice of you to come back - thank you.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've been meaning to come back and tell you that I made my spaghetti sauce with cherry tomatoes following your instructions and have to say it was delizioso!

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thanks fo pinning and dropping in JudiBee and hope you really enjoy your pasta dish next time you're in the kitchen experimenting.

      Janis. Italian food, when prepared very simply is delicious. I have never heard of the pasta dish you ate in Milan; it's quite an unusual combination but must try it since it made such a memorable impression on your mind.

      Appreciate you dropping in and commenting. Thank you.

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 

      7 years ago

      I had no idea you use garlic for spaghetti and red onion for fettucine. I use garlic AND onion in everything, the more the better! This sauce sounds wonderful. I was only once in Italy--for a few days in Milan, and ate in a home where we had home-made pasta served with butter, parsley, garlic and Parmesan cheese, and it was totally amazing. I've never forgotten.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      7 years ago from UK

      Sounds good - simple too. Pinning for future experimenting :)

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      xstatic: thanks. it really is good sauce.

      Just Ask Susan; i love garlic too! Buon appetito and thanks for your visit.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Anything with garlic I love. Your recipe sounds great and I'll try it soon. Thanks.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      8 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Recipes sound wonderful and your b&b looks inviting as well. I will be reading all the recipes.

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      You'll have to visit our Tuscany b&b and enjoy a meal here then! Welcome. Thanks for votes and comments.

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Put garlic and onion on something and I'm there. That's why I love Italian cooking. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Buon appetito Lady_E. Nice to have you here. Maybe you will come to Tuscany one day?

    • Lady_E profile image


      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks for this Recipe. I would love to make it. I always by ready made Pasta sauce in the Jar, but making it myself would be healthier. Bueno. :-)

      Ps. Also, sorry about Lilly. I couldn't quite work out who lilly was, so didn't know how to comment. Take Care.

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Buon appetito. Hope you find those sweet tomatoes. Look forward to hearing what you think!


    • Gracefulwriter profile image


      8 years ago from Northern Virginia

      I sent your link to my girlfriend who lived in Italy and is a superb cook. I'm going to try your recipe, I'll send feedback.

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thanks! Hope you really enjoy the pasta too.

      I'll be writing lots of simple Italian recipes on HP so hope you'll check them out.

    • Leighsue profile image


      8 years ago

      I love these kind of simple italian recipes. Thanks

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Plumb tomatoes from a tin are OK to - just make sure you don't use the tom water in the tin cos you'll need to cook it longer...the secret is the fresh taste which you get from not cooking for long. If you use plumb tomatoes from a can, they will be cooked when the sauce bubble holes.

      Fresh plub tomatoes are the best (we call them Samarzzano) but you can only get them in the summer here.

      Buon apetito Jools99

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      8 years ago from North-East UK

      Thanks for the recipe. My hubby isn't a fan of onions so we won't be having the fettucine (with him any way!). Would this also work with plum tomatoes or are the cherry ones better?

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Don't know why I didn't reply to you?

      Thanks for remembering Italy here on the HP's. Not sure why you used vegetables and maggi in your tomato sauce in Rome...perhaps Fausta was from the North. Boh?

      I learned the garlic and onion thing from the housewives here who have chickens (and usually make fetuccine).

      ma og''nunno ha il suo.

      Thanks for nice compliment about the layout.

      See you are racing on. I can hardly keep up with you.

      GOOD LUCK.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 

      8 years ago from Florida

      Hi GoodLady,

      I lived in Rome as well for a bit as a teenager. But Fausta taught me to use the canned tomates and use vegetables and maggi in my sauce. I will have to give this a try. I live on tomatoes (pomadora) though almost more than eating apples.

      And I have had the fish sauces but I wasn't wild about it. I miss Italy so much.

      Thank you for this brilliant hub. It is lovely indeed and reminded me of my days in Italy. I would image the sauce I was taught in Rome was different because they have regional differences in cooking.

      Your hub was written and laid out very well.


    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Hi Chatkath and thanks for enthusiastic comment! Really hope you like the pasta dish, it really is the way we eat in Italy...sooooooo simple. Eugenio would have loved it.

    • Chatkath profile image


      8 years ago from California

      This looks and sounds so incredible! A very authentic & tasty sounding sauce that I will try soon. Eugenio (my uncle) used to call tomato sauce "gravy" when he came to the US from Navaccio.(SP?) He had a little grocery and deli store outside San Francisco and loved to cook!!!

      Thanks for sharing this goodlady!

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      In a jar is good too calmyourbeans! Just if you want it fresh, there's this way!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Hub, I'm always so lazy and buy tomato sauce in a jar. I won't next time :)


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