Audrey Hepburn's Favorite Spaghetti Al Pomodoro

Total Time
1hr 20mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr

from her son Sean's memoir: Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Peel and dice the small onion, garlic, carrots, celery and put into a large pot.
  2. Add 2 large cans of Italian pelati [prepeeled roma tomatoes].
  3. Add 1/2 of the bunch of basil with leaves left whole.
  4. Add a long drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Simmer on low for 45 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and let it rest at least 15 minutes.
  7. Cook one package of spaghetti noodles [or angel hair] until al dente [with still a bit of a snap at the core].
  8. Place pasta on large serving bowl or plate.
  9. Pour sauce over.
  10. Cut carefully the other 1/2 of basil and sprinkle over the sauce and pasta with lots of freshly grated parmagiana reggiano cheese.
Most Helpful

This is a great recipe. Don't try to substitute like using the cheeses in the bottle as opposed to the real thing and anything except fresh garlic. The sauce has an extremely delicate taste and the fresh ingredients and grated cheese just add a little zip to it. I was really surprised that the sauce could be so flavorful without adding meat. The sauce just doesn't need it. Thank you so much for a recipe that doesn't taste like the traditional spaghetti sauce. It's a real winner!

Katherain S. June 28, 2015

This is a wonderful recipe that, once again, shows just how good properly prepared food really tastes. I used organic, fire roasted crushed tomatoes, which produced a thick, flavorful sauce. I chopped the onion and celery rather fine and grated the carrots to better incorporate the flavors. I used very little sea salt and freshly ground pepper - about 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. You want to taste the tomatoes afterall, not salt!

High quality ingredients such as EVOO and freshly shaved Parmesano-Reggiano are a must. The sauce can top whole grain spaghetti or spaghetti squash. The recipe in the book stressed the importance of cooking the pasta al dente (with a bite). Only cook as much as you can consume in one meal - leftover spaghetti is no good (in this cook's humble opinion). I never mix sauce and pasta either, just ladle over the spaghetti and top with freshly shaved cheese - splurge on real Italian cheese and use it sparingly - again, the idea is to enhance the dish, not overwhelm it.

Whole Foods Chef Judy February 04, 2011

I made a 1/2 batch to test it and really liked it, even though I'm not typically a plain marinara person! I was also scared of the celery and carrots... but I chopped everything in my chopper and it tasted great! Let this simmer and REDUCE! otherwise it can be a bit on the watery side! It's just as good w/out basil, and is my new and HEALTHY favorite!

bravesara October 29, 2007