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Paccheri with tomato sauce and Parmesan – recipe

This traditional pasta recipe comes from Vittorio, Enrico and Roberto Cerea's father. The paccheri pasta (large tube shapes) is served in a simple tomato sauce, made from both tinned and fresh tomatoes.

Paccheri with tomato sauce and Parmesan

Chef: Cerea Brothers

Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

Course: Starter

Skill level: Easy


  • 240g of paccheri pasta
  • 125ml of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 200g of San Marzano tomatoes, diced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • 50g of Piccadilly tomatoes, or other baby plum tomatoes
  • 20g of butter
  • 40g of Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 bunch of basil


  • Blender


  1. Add the olive oil to large pan and gently sauté the garlic, carrot, onion and celery together until softened. Add the diced tomatoes, some seasoning and the sugar and continue to cook for 35 – 40 minutes
  2. Once cooked, transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve into a clean pan to remove any seeds
  3. Add the baby, or Piccadilly, tomatoes and stir into the sauce and heat through
  4. Cook the pasta in boiling water for 10-12 minutes, or until cooked through, then drain and stir into the tomato sauce
  5. Add in the butter and grated Parmesan, stirring until the sauce becomes almost creamy. Pick the basil leaves and stir most through the pasta, then garnish with a few remaining whole leaves, a little more grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil

The wine

This perfect paccheri pasta dish offered up by the Cerea Brothers is the ultimate comfort food.

Easy to concoct on a week night or at the beginning of dinner with friends, Decanter recommends pulling the cork, or turning the screw cap, of a light, easy-drinking red. Italian whites will also work, but the lighter reds will show fantastically well against the rich tomatoes and sautéd vegetables.

Gamay from Beaujolais, younger light reds from Southern France, Blaufränkisch from Austria and Dolcetto from Piedmont are just a few to look out for; but to find the authentic Italian match, head to Sicily and the grape Nero d’Avola.

Young, accessible Nero d’Avolas are becoming easier to find in good local wine merchants and even offer great value on supermarket shelves – Paccheri Pasta accompanied by Nero d’Avola becomes a wonderful value yet inviting and alluring meal. – Harry Fawkes, Decanter.com

Recipe courtesy of the Cerea Brothers. Launching soon Great Italian Chefs showcases the best culinary talent that Italy has to offer. Visit Great Italian Chefs for more recipes and features for Italy’s most exciting chefs.

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