Dinner Lidia Bastianich Lunch Sauces


Salsa Cruda di Pomodoro


By Lidia’s Kitchen sponsored by Marcangelo Foods


This is the pasta “sauce” I make when just-picked tomatoes in all shapes and colors are piled on our kitchen windowsills. It’s is a fast no-cook preparation and requires ripe and juicy home grown tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes from the farmers’ market.


Makes 3 to 4 cups—enough to sauce 1 pound of cooked dry pasta


  • 2 pounds ripe summer tomatoes, preferably heirloom varieties in a mix of colours and shapes
  • 3 to 4 plump peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large basil leaves (about 3 tablespoons shredded)
  • 1/4 teaspoon peperoncino, or more or less to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup or more grated grana padano or cubed fresh mozzarella



Rinse the tomatoes, drain and wipe dry. Cut out the core and any other tough parts. Working over a big mixing bowl to catch all the juices, cut the tomatoes—cherry tomatoes in half; regular tomatoes into 1-inch chunks—and drop them in the bowl.

Smash the garlic cloves with a chef’s knife and chop into a fine paste (easier if you add some of the salt as you chop; mash the garlic bits and salt with the flat side of the knife too.) Scatter the garlic paste and the rest of the salt (1/2 teaspoon in all) over the tomatoes and stir gently. Pile up the basil leaves and cut into thin strips. Scatter these over the tomatoes, then sprinkle in the peperoncino. Pour in the oil, stir and fold to coat the tomatoes and distribute the seasonings.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it marinate at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.

Toss the marinated sauce with freshly cooked and drained pasta. Serve as is or toss in 1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano. For an extra richness, add 1 cup or more cubed fresh mozzarella.


Need more culinary inspiration? Check out Lidia’s Kitchen, Sundays at 6pm/et!