Tomato Sauce In The Raw

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Tomato Sauce in the Raw!

I got this recipe from Sony Bono many many years ago when he had a restaurant on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles called, “BONO”.
I use to love going there on a Friday night after a hectic week. He always greeted you with a great big mustached grin and made you feel right at home. I loved his eclectic menu of his favorite Italian recipes. They were mostly old school which I loved because it reminded me of growing up.
I watched him worked the room and he was genuinely interested in all the patrons that came to dine. He made every single person feel special. I couldn’t wait for him to come and sit down at our booth as he always did to discuss the menu and would order so many dishes for me to taste even after we already ordered our dinner. He would order great wine and would regal us with great stories especially about Hollywood and his early career.
We also had serious discussion about meatballs, lasagna and pasta sauces. (lol) He asked me try a sauce that wasn’t cooked.  He called it Piccio Paccio. I have no idea what that means.
It was served with penne pasta and I have to say it became my very favorite pasta dish to order when I dined there. I asked him to please share the recipe with me and he did. I have been serving it for years!
I highly suggest you make this recipe when tomatoes are at their height of flavor in the summer. They are so sweet and taste like tomatoes should taste. Every bite is a burst a flavor not only from the tomatoes but also from the fresh ingredients used to make this special sauce.

6 TO 8 servings


3 pounds baby organic red and yellow Roma tomatoes, sliced lengthwise. If you can’ find baby Roma tomatoes, use cherry tomatoes
1/3-cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
½ cup Romano Cheese, freshly grated
1 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley, (flat leaf)
12 fresh basil leaves, stacked on top of one another, rolled tightly into a cigarette and sliced into thin ribbons
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed open
8 ounces pasta, linguine or Farfalle (butterfly shaped) cooked al-dente according to package directions, drained well and rinsed in cool water. Don’t forget to salt the water. 4 quarts water 1.5 tablespoons Kosher salt. 


¼ cup Kalamata olives
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes


Place the first 8 ingredients into a large pasta bowl and mix well.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit out on the counter for 1 to 2 hours. The longer you let the tomatoes sit at room temperature the better, as this will give time for all the flavors to come together.


Find and remove the garlic cloves from the tomatoes, save for another use. Add olives, more  salt and pepper to taste if needed and mix. Drizzle on more olive oil if desired! Sprinkle over pinches of crushed red pepper flakes! Optional!
Sprinkle on more Parmesan and Romano cheese if you like!

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  1. Yolanda DiMino Sloan

    Cristina, This is a dish my mother made, so glad I now have the recipe, yes, it is an old Italian recipe. These Italian recipes are reminders of our youth, the great food, the great family, the great get-togethers with Mom cooking for everyone, Mom always was calm and cool feeding her army…LOL….no kidding, my brother used to bring ALL of his male friends home, to eat on Sunday’s, without notice, Mom always had enough food for everyone. It was amazing..Mom was so calm and cool.
    Thanx so much.

    • cristina

      I know, it is one of my favorite sauces. It reminds me too of growing up. There is something so organic, fresh and comforting! I totally can relate! Thanks for writing.


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