Fidelanza (Spaghetti Cooked in Tomato Sauce) Recipe

Fidelanza (Spaghetti Cooked in Tomato Sauce) Recipe



It is said that this unusual pasta dish was invented by farmers in the backcountry of western Liguria, who had to cook their own lunch in the fields. Potable water was not always available, and only a limited amount could be carried over long distances, so these workers developed the technique of simmering their spaghetti directly in a sauce of fresh tomatoes —which they might have plucked right from the vine — with just a little water added.

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  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 ounces pancetta or salt pork, finely diced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped, or one 28- to 32-ounce can of tomatoes, finely chopped, plus juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8-10 basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 1 pound spaghetti or linguine
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, cook the onion, garlic, and pancetta or salt pork in oil over low heat for 20-30 minutes, or until onions are tender and translucent. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and basil (if using). Stir well, cover, and cook for 40 minutes over low heat.

Add 2 cups water, mix in well, and then stir in pasta. Continue cooking, uncovered, over low heat, stirring frequently so that pasta doesn’t stick together. Add more water, ½ cup at a time, if necessary. Pasta should take about 30 minutes to cook, and sauce should reduce to a thick emulsion.

Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side.

Spaghetti Shopping Tip

Italian food is about simplicity and letting the ingredients shine. So make sure you get ingredients that are great quality and flavor. Farmers markets and specialty stores will have great produce and products. Just be sure to have some great olive oil.

Spaghetti Cooking Tip

Unlike other highly regarded cuisines, Italian cooking is usually simple to make with many dishes having only 4 to 8 ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.

Spaghetti Wine Pairing

Cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec, mourvèdre, Rhône blends, zinfandel, petite sirah, nero d'avola, primitivo, sangiovese, or carménère with meat- or tomato-based sauces; grenache or chardonnay with cream-based sauces; pinot gris/grigio, albariño, or other fresh white wines (for instance, soave, Italian sauvignon, or grillo) with seafood pasta; nebbiolo, dolcetto, or barbera with most non-seafood pasta.