Recipe of spaghetti with Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio

For a taste that recalls the unmistakable scent of land and sea mingling, typical of Campania, try spaghetti dressed with Vesuvian piennolo tomatoes.

They are those small, round, red tomatoes that also appear in the Neapolitan baroque nativity scene, so ancient is their use in Campanian gastronomy. They have a full flavour with a stronger acidic note than in other tomatoes. It is the volcanic soil of Vesuvius and its surroundings that makes the flavour of these tomatoes special, and the preservation technique makes them tasty because it allows healthy ripening thanks to the favourable climate and human ingenuity that have worked together.

Why the piennolo tomatoes in particular?

Given the similarity of these tomatoes to the Sicilian cherry tomato, why should spaghetti be seasoned with this product and not with other similar tomatoes?

Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio is a variety of tomato grown exclusively on the volcanic slopes of Mount Vesuvius. It has been recognized as a traditional agri-food product by the Campania region and was awarded the protected designation of origin (PDO) in 2009.

These cherry tomatoes are obtained from the Mill variety of the Solanum lycopersicum species, weigh up to 30 grams, and have an elongated oval, slightly pear or heart shape, with a clearly visible apical part called pizzo or spungillo. The characteristic thick skin of Vesuvius cherry tomatoes allows them to be stored for a long time. They are usually picked in clusters and hung on balconies, taking the name piennolo (pendulum) or spungillo because of the lace on their end.

The piennolo-preserved cherry tomato is an ancient production from the Vesuvius area. To preserve it during navigation, tarred lezzino was used to protect it from insects. This type of tomato became popular because of its low cultivation requirements and ability to keep for a long time. It was used for traditional domestic preparations, such as pizzas and pasta dishes.

Spaghetti with Piennolo tomatoes from Vesuvius

A very simple recipe beloved throughout Campania, which may seem modest at first glance, but which maintains its simplicity precisely to highlight the tomato as the protagonist.

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 400 grams of spaghetti or vermicelli
  • 40 piennolo cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 6 tablespoons of Sorrento EVO oil
  • 1 bunch of basil leaves
  • Salt to taste


While you wash and dry the cherry tomatoes thoroughly, brown the crushed garlic cloves in a frying-pan with some of the oil (about 4 tablespoons). Remove the garlic before it burns, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and toss them in the pan. If you want, you can leave a handful of cherry tomatoes aside to add a raw note to the final recipe, otherwise cook them all. Cook them for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another pan, cook the pasta. When the spaghetti -or vermicelli- are al dente, drain it and pour it into the pan where the cherry tomatoes are finishing cooking. Sauté the whole thing for two or three minutes. Finally, add the well-washed basil, the remaining raw oil and, if you like, a few cherry tomatoes as well.

Nothing else should be added, neither pepper nor chilli pepper, much less cheese because only the taste of the cherry tomatoes should be enhanced along with that of the good pasta.