How to Make a Classic, Simple Pomodoro Sauce

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  • Fresh tomatoes or plum tomatoes, preferably from San Marzano, Italy
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper

Fresh, quality ingredients, gently prepared by hand create the perfect pomodoro sauce, says Angelo Elia, chef and owner of four Italian restaurants — three Casa D'Angelo restaurants in Florida, and the Bahamas and D'Angelo Pizza, Wine Bar, and Tapas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A pomodoro sauce is completely different from a marinara sauce, he explains. Marinara sauce contains many ingredients; pomodoro is simple and light and can be the base for many other sauces or dishes such as zuppa de pesce or puttanesca sauce.

But traditionally, Elia says, this sauce is served over spaghetti, topped with Parmigiana Reggiano cheese.

  1. Mash the garlic in your hands. This preserves the juice in the garlic, which provides a different flavor than sliced garlic.
  2. Skin and seed your tomatoes. To skin them, make a cross in the top of the tomato with a knife then put into boiling water (with the heat turned off) for one minute. The skin will come off easily. Elia uses a small, $10 machine to de-seed his tomatoes, but if you don’t have one simply squeeze the tomatoes by hand. He removes the seeds because it makes the dish less acidic, which can cause stomach problems in some diners.
  3. Sauté the garlic in hot extra virgin olive oil to release the juices and provide flavor.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook for five to ten minutes.
  5. Add some fresh basil, a little salt and some pepper.

Working in his family’s restaurants since he was nine years old, Angelo Elia accepted his first chef’s position when he was 17. The success of Elia’s flagship restaurant, Casa D’Angelo (opened in 1998) in Fort Lauderdale has resulted in two additional locations: in Boca Raton, Florida and the Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island, Bahamas. Chef Angelo’s newest creation, D’Angelo Pizza, Wine Bar, and Tapas opened in Fort Lauderdale in March 2010 Every year since September 2000, Chef Elia has been honored with the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. He has also received the Golden Spoon Award from Florida Trend Magazine for the past 10 years.