Here is how I made this awesome, beautiful copycat version of Macaroni Grill’s Pasta Pomodoro. This dish only has 5 ingredients! It would be amazing and very impressive for a date night. Pair this with a simple salad like a Cesar and some crusty french bread and you just can’t top it. A nice Chianti or red wine would pair nicely with this rich, red sauce. It’s my go to pasta dish when I want something quick and semi healthy! 😉
So here we go:
4-6 fresh tomatoes, chopped (I used 4 small campari tomatoes and 1 heirloom)
2 Tablespoons of fresh garlic, chopped (or less if you’re not a fan)
1 small bunch of fresh basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup of your favorite marinara or tomato sauce
1/2 – 1 pound Angel Hair Pasta
Other pantry ingredients: good olive oil, kosher salt or any sea salt
Start a pot of boiling water for the pasta and while that’s going, start on your sauce.
Start with your pan on medium heat and add about 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil. Also add the garlic at this time and WATCH it. Stir often and watch it soften for just about a minute or less. You do NOT want to brown it. Browned garlic is bitter and not good.
The garlic will infuse the oil and it will make this dish YUM! After about 30 seconds to 1 minute swirling the garlic around, add the tomatoes. You can stir occasionally. We are just trying to infuse the tomatoes with the garlic oil and break them down a little so they are soft and flavorful.
After about 5 -8 minutes you can add the marinara/tomato sauce. This helps the sauce to have a richer flavor. If the tomatoes look like they are drying quickly, turn your heat down and add the sauce sooner. I personally LOVE the Victoria Trading Company Marinara Sauce Old World Style. This is an AMAZING sauce! If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it! Here’s a picture:
After adding the sauce, you can add 1/2 of the basil so those flavors can meld together. Add the pasta to your boiling water and after about 7 minutes it should be al dente. Use tongs to add the pasta to your sauce and toss. Also at this point you can taste your sauce to see if it needs any salt. Top and mix with the rest of the fresh basil. (Optional: add some fresh grated Parmesan or pass it at the table) – I don’t think it needs it, but hey, if you like it that way, go for it!
Serve with your side of salad and a warm french bread! This is also a terrific side dish for Chicken Marsala or Chicken Piccata.
This takes me back to when my sister and I would go to the Macaroni Grill for lunches and get the 1/2 and 1/2. I think my recipe is pretty darn close to the real thing!
I hope you enjoy it and please give me a shoutout or comment if you try it!
Happy Cooking & Mangia!