Fettucine alla marinara

This is essentially the wonderful Anna Del Conte’s recipe, from her book ‘Anna Del Conte’ on pasta, which is second on my list of all-time favourite cookbooks. It’s pasta with fresh tomatoes and is juicy, vibrant and full of flavour while tasting light and fresh. I added a couple of small twists to Anna’s recipe, mainly because in the UK it’s tricky to get tomatoes that are of the right quality and ripeness. I left out the chilli as I make plenty of spicy recipes and added a pinch of sugar and a splash of white balsamic to really brighten the flavour.

Prep time: 10 mins (+30 mins marinating)
Cook time: 12 mins
Servings: 4
Servings: 4


  • 6-8 good sized ripe and flavourful tomatoes, peeled.
  • 500g of dried fettucine, spaghetti or spaghettini
  • 6tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed (I actually used garlic purée)
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • a pinch of sugar if you can’t get really good sweet tomatoes
  • a splash of white balsamic vinegar
  • 5g sea salt


Skin the tomatoes by cutting a shallow cross in the top of each one then covering them with boiling water for a minute or two. Plunge them into ice cold water then peel the skins off. Cut each one into 6-8 parts and remove the seeds (you can freeze the seeds and skins to use in veg stock).

I have just realised as I type that I hardly read Anna’s recipe and made it up as I went along, as is my way!

Place the tomato segments in a bowl and pour over the olive oil the add the sugar (if using), salt, garlic, three quarters of the torn basil, and the white balsamic. Stir and leave covered for 30 mins to marinate.

After the 30 mins is up you should have a large saucepan of boiling salted water at the ready to cook the pasta. Cook it until it’s al dente and then drain but not so much that it sticks together, keep a bit of its milky water back to slosh it about in.

While the pasta is cooking as above heat a large frying pan that will accommodate all the pasta and warm the tomato concoction for a couple of minutes, not to cook it as such but just to take its coolness off.

Now transfer the cooked pasta to the frying pan and toss it all about with the tomatoes making sure each pasta strand is coated. Scatter the remaining basil over the top.

According to Anna Del Conte no cheese is served with this but I say plenty of fresh grated Parmesan and course-ground black pepper complement it beautifully. You can choose.

Nutrition Info


Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which is a pokey antioxidant. Antioxidants are like bouncers at a night club, they go around finding stray electrons that are busy causing trouble in your body, and find them a love partner so they can both stay in and cuddle on the sofa.

Tomatoes are also a brilliant source of vitamin C, which supports skin and connective tissue health as well as immunity and iron absorption. The biotin in tomatoes is good for controlling blood sugar.

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