Spaghetti Alla Carrettiera

This is a fresh uncooked tomato sauce. It’s named after the drivers of the colorful Sicilian carts the Sicilians are famous for.

It’s somewhere between the taste of a pesto and a fresh tomato salad.  It’s important to use very ripe fresh plumb tomatoes. If you purchase your tomatoes from the market be sure they sit on the counter until they are very soft and ripe. This a wonderful recipe to use if you grow your own and pick your tomatoes when they are very ripe and sweet. If you never had an uncooked tomato sauce you will be in for a very pleasant surprise at how wonderful it taste. Again, the quality all depends on the ripeness and sweetness of the tomatoes.

My son Joeseph likes this dish cold. He says it reminds him of a fresh pasta salad. When he first tasted this hot he asked for some Italian bread so he could sop up the juice from the tomatoes inside his dish. We both love a fresh tomatoe salad that is juicy so we can dip our bread in it and soak up that wonderful flavor mixed in with the olive oil and garlic and basil. This pasta dish has the same elements. Enjoy!

Spaghetti alla Carrettiera

  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of ripe fresh plumb tomaoes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 pound spaghetti

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the whole tomatoes into the boiling water for three minutes in order to blanch them for easy skin removal. Remove the tomatoes from the water and place under cool running water. 


  Slice the stem portion off the tomato and peel the skin off. It should come off very easy. 

Cut the tomatoes in half and remove as much seeds as you can. Chop the tomatoes very fine and place in a large bowl with all its juice. Stir in the olive oil and set aside.

Make a paste out of the garlic, basil and salt. You can use a mortar and pestle or use the side of your chef knife to grind the ingredients together, using a rubbing motion with your knife until you have a paste. Add the red pepper flakes.

Stir the paste into the tomatoes and mix well. This mixture should sit for at least a half hour or longer while you make your pasta.

Cook the spaghetti al dente. Drain and placed the cooked pasta back in the pot.

 Immediately add the tomato mixture and mix well. Add the grated cheese and serve immediately.


About Peter Bocchieri

Peter was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a second generation Italian-American. He has a degree in Journalism from Long Island University and is an avid photographer, gardener and pet owner. Now that Peter is retired, he is relaxing at his home in North East Pennsylvania and cooking for his sons, Michael and Joseph, family and friends. Peter's passion for food was inspired by his Mother's and Grandmother's cooking, but at the age of 10 Peter felt he could do it better himself, so he did.
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4 Responses to Spaghetti Alla Carrettiera

  1. This is a great way to make fresh Italian sauce! I am really hoping my own home grown italian tomatoes will produce this summer so I can do more of the “fresh” sauce making. I’ve never tried making the garlic and basil as a paste though – I’ll have to remember that. Thanks for sharing.

    • Liz, making a paste out of the garlic, salt and basil is just like a pesto. The salt acts like a grit to help “grind” the ingredients up. Please let me know how you like it. It’s a great way to make sauce with fresh tomatoes.

  2. nick says:

    Peter – Thanks for these recipes. Spaghetti Alla Carterettiera sounds scrumptious.(sapporito) The pork chops,potatoes with vinegared peppers brings me right back to my childhood. My grandmother made it all the time and i just wanted to try it. That’s how I found this site. We’re from campania (Caserta) and I find myself looking for recipes from that region. zuppa baccala and minestra are

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