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Giada De Laurentiis’ pomodoro sauce is simple. Little more than tomatoes, garlic, and cheese, the celebrity chef uses her recipe as the basis for many pasta dishes. The secret to making the sauce is, according to the Giada Entertains host, in the cheese. 

A cheese rind is the secret to Giada De Laurentiis’ pomodoro sauce 

Giada De Laurentiis smiles holding two plates of meatballs
Giada De Laurentiis | Amy Sussman/Getty Images Entertainment Video for Food Network

The cookbook author shared all the details on her Basic Parmesan Pomodoro recipe in a Giadzy blog post. Not only did De Laurentiis include step-by-step instructions on how to make it but she revealed the secret to the dish. 

“This basic parmesan pomodoro is my go-to pomodoro recipe,” she began. “It gets so much flavor from simmering away with basil, garlic, a carrot and a Parmigiano rind.”

“The rind is the secret here,” she explained. “It takes the sauce to the next level! I always save my rinds from Parmigiano and stick them in the freezer for when I make this recipe.”

So take a tip from the Eat Better, Feel Better author and don’t discard Parmigiano rinds. Do what she does and save them to use in pomodoro sauce. 

Sweet tomatoes are another key ingredient in De Laurentiis’ sauce

A cheese rind isn’t the only secret ingredient in De Laurentiis’ pomodoro sauce. As she explained on her website, the type of tomatoes plays a role in the overall taste of the dish too. 

“The other secret to why this recipe is so delicious is the tomatoes,” she said. “I love a sweet, vibrant tomato sauce, and canned cherry tomatoes – aka, Pomodorini – are the best for that. They’re much sweeter than other varieties of canned tomatoes!” 

San Marzano tomatoes will work too, according to the Everyday Italian alum. “That said, you can make this sauce with San Marzano tomatoes as well,” she said before noting “the resulting sauce may not be quite as sweet, but it will be just as tasty.” 

How to make the Food Network star’s Basic Parmesan Pomodoro


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Featured on Giada in Italy, De Laurentiis’ pomodoro sauce starts with olive oil and garlic. She puts them both in a warm saucepan and cooks the garlic for about five minutes. 

Once the garlic is golden brown she tosses in the canned cherry tomatoes, juices and all, along with fresh basil, cheese rinds, and a carrot that’s been peeled and halved. 

De Laurentiis lets the mixture come to a simmer. As it continues to cook for about 35 minutes she occasionally stirs it to keep everything from sticking. When the time is up she seasons it to taste with salt and pepper before setting it aside to cool slightly. 

Next, De Laurentiis removes the cheese rinds, carrot, and basil. This can be the final step in the sauce-making process or it can be blended until smooth using an immersion blender. 

Lastly, De Laurentiis boils a pot of water for pasta. While the pasta boils she reheats the sauce. Once the pasta’s cooked she tosses it in the pan with the sauce. 

Before stirring she tops it with grated Parmesan cheese. Only then does she toss everything together. With the addition of butter, olive oil, and pasta water if the sauce is too thick, De Laurentiis’ pomodoro is ready.