02 Nov2010


The finest ingredients are often best showcased in dishes where you do nothing to the ingredients at all. Does that makes sense? At any rate, a simple pasta pomodoro or pasta with tomato sauce is my benchmark for an Italian kitchen/restaurant. If they can’t do that dish well, I don’t typically bother to return to try other dishes on the menu. Pasta pomodoro is so simple, yet is rarely done right outside of Italy. In its purest form, I like the red sauce on spaghetti or spaghettini. Fresh basil is a nice addition. Good mozzarella, the sauce and penne works well too. Getting further astray, with bacon and chili peppers I like the sauce with bucatini and the variations multiply exponentially from there.


So with some great burrata on hand, and baby arugula, I decided to make a simple tomato sauce and tossed that with penne, the cheese and greens. To make the basic sauce, I used two small cans of whole Italian plum (romano) tomatoes, roughly chopped up. Half an onion, thinly sliced. Four cloves of garlic, thinly sliced. Into a stainless steel saute pan over medium heat, I added several tablespoons of olive oil, then the onions and the garlic. Sweat this for a few minutes and make sure it doesn’t brown at all. Next, add the chopped tomatoes and turn the heat up to high and once the sauce comes to a simmer, bring the heat back down to medium. After a few minutes, the sauce will thicken and you can season with salt (NOT iodized salt) and pepper to taste. I wanted a touch of zing, so I added a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes. The sauce should be done in less than 15 minutes. And yes, the saute pan vs. say a Le Creuset dutch oven DOES make a difference, because in this sauce, you want the water to evaporate quickly.

Meanwhile, plunge your penne pasta into WELL SALTED boiling water and cook until just al dente. Add the pasta to the thickened sauce in the saute pan and toss. Add the baby arugula and toss and transfer to serving platter. Rip open the burrata cheese and lay large pieces over the pasta. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on the burrata and add some freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately. Oh, another tip, heat your serving platter and pasta bowls if you want to retain heat for a longer period of time. This is simply pasta heaven for me. So easy, so incredibly satisfying. If you have no baby arugula, use fresh sweet basil. If you have no burrata, use little cubes of buffalo mozzarella and toss them into the hot pasta at the last moment. Do not bother to make this dish with substandard grocery packaged mozzarella of dubious provenance. Just don’t. :)



  1. mudra says:

    wow! Looks delicious!

    Nov 2, 2010 | 10:11 am


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  3. charlie says:

    There is a local pizzeria in LA that makes individual pizza with tomato, herbs and burrata cheese. The burrata cheese is so light and creamy.

    Nov 2, 2010 | 10:12 am

  4. betty q. says:

    oh….MM, have you tried Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce….the simplest ever and yet the BEST! It is my go-to pasta sauce and I make it by the buckets!…sometimes I smear it over baguette slices and just top it with shaved parmesan or FRESH BOCCONCINI, then drizzle with garlic-basil infused olive oil…MASARAP!

    Nov 2, 2010 | 10:23 am

  5. eight says:

    yummy :)

    Nov 2, 2010 | 10:35 am

  6. eric says:

    Hi MM, sorry if this question has been covered by some previous post, but what extra virgin olive oil do you recommend that is readily available here in metro manila. for cooking, i usually get the ones from SnR when they go on sale. But for salads and for finishing touches?

    Nov 2, 2010 | 11:09 am

  7. becky says:


    Nov 2, 2010 | 11:38 am

  8. Markymarc says:

    Hey MM! check this out! Rex Navarette talking about filipino cuisine! Funny stuff! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6Jk3qbtSF8

    Nov 2, 2010 | 11:45 am

  9. Joey in Dubai says:

    Looks heavenly to me!

    Nov 2, 2010 | 12:28 pm

  10. Tess Mercado says:

    Hi Ms. Betty Q,

    pa share naman po ng recipe ng “Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce”.

    salamat po!

    Nov 2, 2010 | 12:32 pm

  11. maia says:

    yey… i really like pomodoro, it’s my favorite pasta of all time. when i was pregnant with my first son and nauseous during the first months, it was one of the few things i could eat. i also like it spicy. and yes, like mam bettyq i like to slather the sauce on baguette slices.:) i make my sauces in bulk and store them in the freezer. i like to use fresh tomatoes but i noticed that the taste changes depending on the sourness or sweetness of the tomatoes i am using.

    Nov 2, 2010 | 12:53 pm

  12. Jen Laceda says:

    I LOVE Burrata! I can it that forever and on anything – pasta, baguette, pizza, salad…YUM!

    Nov 2, 2010 | 12:58 pm

  13. betty q. says:

    Naku, Ms. Tessa…you are going top go bonkers with Mme. Hazan’s Tomato Sauce…napakasimple yet masarap! I prefer to use it though the next day and it is mas masarap! You can google it but I added some stuff to suit my taste. It calls for 1 can (24 oz.) Italian plum tomatoes, i sweet onion or regular onion cut crosswise in half…I prefer to use the sweet onion so I can eat the softened onion after and not discard it….1/2 cup regular butter, pinch of sugar to cut down on the acidity of the tomaotes , a pinch of chili flakes if you want zip. Just dump everything in a non-reactive pot …oh, squish the tomatoes with your clean hands first and just simmer it till thickened and nagmamantika na… Now, the softened onion, you can either rough chop it and return to teh pot OR cut in slces…smear good bread like calabrese with pesto and add the softened onion slices and top with cheese…smoked applewood cheddar is my favorite with it….DO NOT SUB THE BUTTER up above in the epot with margarine or oil…be it olive or canola or any oil at all!

    I make this by the buckets…para isa na lang hirap!

    Oh, if you send me an e-mail (back track to MM’s squash post…most recent…it’s in there somewhere), I will send you the recipe you requested before.

    Nov 2, 2010 | 1:43 pm

  14. Carol Geron says:

    Wow, MM, ang sarap sarap naman! I am sooo craving for this now (having eaten only hospital food since last week :) ! I will surely do this penne pasta recipe (even with buffalo mozzarella) as soon as I am able to go home, and pair this with some good crusty homemade bread. I look forward to having a taste of burrata, since I haven’t tried this yet and it really looks yummy!. Thanks, Ms. Betty Q., for the tomato sauce recipe you shared. It also sounds very delicious by the way you describe it and I will surely make a batch asap so my equally pasta-crazed family will enjoy this too, on our favorite pasta and bread.

    Nov 2, 2010 | 3:34 pm

  15. betty q. says:

    Tess, Carol…may you have a speedy recovery, Ms. Geron!….I forgot Taste the sauce for salt/ground black pepper, sugar and adjust seasoning.

    This is soooo good, Carol, that this will be our supper for tonight. Maramimg Salamat for the post, MM!…have to buy burrata/bocconcini this morning.

    Nov 2, 2010 | 9:28 pm

  16. rose says:

    yummy!!!!! this make me so hungry!!!! beetyq , thanks for that recipe.

    Nov 2, 2010 | 9:54 pm

  17. tonceq says:

    the Burrata cheese looks so DIVINE!!! i may not be there to taste it but i know it was great! will try the recipe that MM and ms. bettyq posted! thank you very much for the both of them! by the way though? anyone recommend any good canned italian plum tomatoes and where they can be purchased? thank you very much again! :)

    Nov 2, 2010 | 10:47 pm

  18. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Thanks for demonstrating that cooking pasta dishes is, in fact, quite easy.

    Nov 3, 2010 | 12:46 am

  19. betty q. says:

    Tonceq, Carol, Tesss…I put this sauce on anything that calls for tomato sauce. For instance, the boys want pizza tom. So today, I am making the dough (more than I need so I can freeze the pizza dough balls), and use it to lightly smear on the pizza…another one is maybe on the week-end, I will make cabbage rolls and top it with this tomato sauce. Stuffed chicken breast (garlic and butter) is on sale this week so I will make a casserole using that and top it with the sauce and mozzarella…instant chicken parmigiana!…another one is tomato bisque, just add a touch of cream to the sauce warm it up and eat it with teh pesto/softened onion slicees and cheese panini. ..oh, do not forget the garlic croutons to garnish the soup!

    For hubby who eats light these days, it will be sole made into fish mousse and wrapped in blanched spinach and steamed in muffin tins and served with this tomato sauce…simple yet really good even though it is light food!

    Like Maia, I make buckets and freeze so I have it ready on hand …I forgot….also good using it to make apritada or mechado or anything that calls for tomato sauce.

    Oh, get this, MM…thought I will splurge and buy burrata. Naduling ako when I saw the price! I will splurge but not that much!…At the rate my boys eat bocconcini, kulang ang 2 pockets of burrata. So bought a big container of fresh bocconcini instead.

    Nov 3, 2010 | 1:08 am

  20. Vettievette says:

    did you have a chance to try Eataly when you were here for your Autumn trip? I made my first trip this Sunday and vow to return regularly. The boyfriend and I shared a salumi e fromaggi platter consisting of 3 different prosciuttos, mortadella, ham, and various cheeses. I also picked up some imported tortellini and Lidia Bastianich’s sauce. Crusty bread to go. Food was to die for and not too painful on the wallet.

    Nov 3, 2010 | 1:47 am

  21. Marketman says:

    Vettievette, yes, I did. And will do a post on Eataly. I think I may have been or wish I was Italian in a previous life. :)

    Nov 3, 2010 | 5:26 am

  22. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    @Markymarc – That was pretty good. Just when I thought his material was getting old, he comes back with something new.

    Not sure if Rex Navarette has ever been to Zubuchon, but he has praises for Cebu lechon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0N_jPl95wQ&feature=related

    Nov 3, 2010 | 8:20 am

  23. GayeN says:

    Yumm!!! I wonder if one of the delis here in Manila sells burrata?

    Nov 3, 2010 | 8:50 am

  24. Quillene says:

    Comfort food if I ever saw one. :D Thanks for this MM! :D

    Nov 3, 2010 | 11:27 am

  25. maia says:

    yehey! thanks mam bettyq for the hazan’s tomato sauce recipe. so excited to try them asap as i already made dishes using your recipes and they all turned out really well… your siomai and steamed fish and pastry recipes are staples in my kitchen now. thanks so much for being generous with them. btw, how long is shelf life of tomato sauces in the ref. i have a friend-chef who says 1 month lang daw, another said 6 months at most? just wondering…

    Nov 3, 2010 | 12:35 pm

  26. betty q. says:

    Maia…please bear in mind that most prepared foods should be stored at a temp. of 32 to 35 degrees in the cooler. If my memory serves me right, opened tomato sauces would only last maybe up to 5 days in the cooler. The one who told you 6 months?…maybe he was referrring to UNOPENED bottles of pasta sauce. If I had sauce in the cooler stored for 6 months or even 1 month, I wouldn’t touch the cooler with a 10 ft. pole! Best freeze your sauces…divide into small containers or per luto! I have pureed basil leaves with a touch of water frozen first in ice cube trays and then in zip plock bags.

    Check your cooler temp…

    Nov 3, 2010 | 2:30 pm

  27. betty q. says:

    Maia…cooler temp. is in FAHRENHEIT.

    Nov 3, 2010 | 2:58 pm

  28. maia says:

    hi mam bettyq. what a relief that i store most of the sauces nalang in the freezer. but then, major uh-oh for me with my cooler temp as it is in the 40 degrees! that is why pala, i have problem with some leftovers stored there… thanks again, it feels like am getting advice straight from Martha Stewart herself (which i hope is a compliment for you, i know some don’t like her at all.) :)

    Nov 3, 2010 | 3:40 pm

  29. ness says:

    ms betty q, just out of curiosity… do you have a blog? :)

    Nov 3, 2010 | 4:05 pm

  30. joyce says:

    thanks for the tips dear betty q. will definitely be making a batch of the sauce for the remaining week. mm, the burrata in the pasta dish looks ssoo goodd almost gigantic

    Nov 3, 2010 | 6:52 pm

  31. Enrico MD says:

    Hi there! What’s your favorite Italian Restaurant here in Metro Manila? Someplace that could serve a dish that you’ve presented here? Thanks Marketman

    Nov 3, 2010 | 10:58 pm

  32. Joji says:

    Salamat po sa recipe.

    Nov 4, 2010 | 12:27 am

  33. Marketman says:

    Enrico MD, I guess it used to be Pepato, before it closed. But for basic dishes like this one, frankly, I tend to cook them at home as they are pretty easy and highly economical… In New York and other American cities, a small neighborhood place called Mezzaluna is where I first encountered and still enjoy a pasta dish very similar to this. In Rome, my goodness, this stuff appears to be on nearly every corner… :) Funny in a way how I can’t answer your question simply… I guess I haven’t ordered a plain pasta pomodoro in Manila in a while… Oh, Cibo, has a nice basic tomato pasta, but I find it is a little “restrained” compared with this “splurge-y and ebullient” version we tend to make at home… I have a tendency to slightly oversauce, a habit real Italians would wag their finger at. :)

    Nov 4, 2010 | 5:38 am

  34. andrea says:

    as always, dami na namang infos and recipes learned from Mr. MM himself and also from his readers, lalo na kay Ms. Betty Q. – one of my wishes is to be able to meet both of you in person.

    Nov 4, 2010 | 7:25 am

  35. sunflowii says:

    Hi MM,
    How salty is WELL SALTED? I saw a cooking show once where she recommended that the water should taste as salty as ocean water. Is yours similar?
    btw, looking forward to your posts on Eataly. was there too on a Sunday afternoon. grabe, had to line up just to get in. We’d just finished our lunch at Momofuku so we didn’t get to eat anything there. Hopefully the owners do keep their word and open one in Toronto soon.

    Hi bettyq,
    Thanks for the recipe! God bless you. =)

    Nov 4, 2010 | 9:47 pm

  36. kurzhaar says:

    Visited the NYC Eataly and was a bit disappointed. Having been to the original Eataly many times since it opened, I was curious to see how the concept would translate. This branch was OK but definitely had more of a commercialized atmosphere to it. On reflection I guess this was unavoidable given that the focus of the NYC store seems to be on presenting Italian food to an American audience, rather than a focus on local specialities that completely lose their “local” nature when exported to a foreign country. And while the original Eataly is certainly fun (and I never miss going when in the area), it is the local markets that hold the greatest attraction to me…they may not be glammed up like Eataly is, but the interaction with the man or woman who made that salami or cheese or picked those peppers on marketday morning is irreplaceable. To Marketman, I think my favourite of your blog posts are those on the local markets you visit! :)

    Nov 5, 2010 | 8:40 am

  37. Marketman says:

    sunflowii, I put about a tablespoon (sometimes more) of rock salt in a large pot of boiling water for 500 grams of pasta (roughly 1 lb.)… kurzhaar, yes, I understand that Eataly strays from its roots, but it’s still a welcome addition to the nY food scene. I was certainly salivating at several of the items on offer, now far more commercially presented I’m sure, but they have to make money I suppose…

    Nov 5, 2010 | 3:37 pm

  38. HD says:

    Hi MM, nakita ko lang itong article na ito naalala kita. What are the chances kaya na yung articles mo dito ay napagkakitaan na din ng magazine na cooks source? http://www.edrants.com/the-cooks-source-scandal-how-a-magazine-profits-on-theft/

    Sorry OT.

    Nov 6, 2010 | 7:14 am

  39. shalimar says:

    We spent 4 months in Italy last summer… and managed to purchase amazing cheeses, from burrata, smoked mozarella, pecorino … ah bella italia..

    But time for me to discover Spanish cheeses ;-)

    Nov 6, 2010 | 8:38 am

  40. kvd says:

    I chanced upon burrata at Trader Joe’s. It was around $5…I’m not sure if it’s just as good though… They were also selling black caviar today. About twenty dollars for a really small, tiny jar..

    Nov 8, 2010 | 1:02 pm

  41. Marga says:

    Eric, Carbonell still has the best olive oil around. It’s the number 1 Spanish olive oil in the world. They have it in SM, Shopwise, etc. Basta when cooking you can never go wrong with Carbonell & Molinera. They are pantry staples!!!

    Nov 24, 2010 | 12:11 pm


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