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Tomato Caper Sugo Pappardelle + Caesar Salad

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
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Why we love it:

In Italy, pasta sauces are taken very seriously - and there are multiple words for different types of sauce depending on what’s in it, how long it cooks, and also from which region it hails. Sugo is also called Ragu in some areas and it typically means meat was long cooked in the sauce. This vegetarian version is light, yet rich, simple, yet satisfying and freezes beautifully for 3 months. We highly recommend doubling up and saving some for later.


  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 2 ribs Celery
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 5 cloves Garlic (divided)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme (optional, or use half as much rosemary or oregano)
  • 1 28-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided, plus more for the pasta water)
  • 1 pound Pappardelle Pasta
  • 3 Anchovys (ideally oil-packed)
  • 1 Egg (large, yolk only)
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (optional)
  • 34 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Lemon (zest and juice, divided)
  • 14 cup Parmesan Cheese (finely grated on a microplane or smallest holes on a box grater)
  • 14 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 14 teaspoon Black Pepper (freshly ground)
  • 14 cup Capers
  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce

Cooking Instructions


    Peel the onion and dice into small pieces. Wash the carrot and dice into small pieces. Also dice the celery.

    Heat a large pot over medium and add the olive oil. Add the vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes until they’re becoming fragrant and golden.

    During this time, mince 3 of the garlic cloves and add them in when you’re ready.


    After 5 minutes, strip the leaves off the thyme and add it in. Add the tomatoes and add about 1 teaspoon salt and gently stir everything to coat in tomato. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.

    Stir occasionally and cook for at least 15 minutes, but you can simmer it for up to 45 minutes total. If you go longer, partially cover the pot so you don’t get too much evaporation.

  • 3. PASTA

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a Tablespoon or so of salt. Add the pasta and cook according the package suggestion, time can vary quite a bit. When al dente, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water then drain, don’t rinse.


    Meanwhile, make the Caesar dressing. This is the real deal dressing!

    In a traditional blender or food processor (aka, not a bullet style blender because you have to drizzle into the running machine), add the anchovies, egg yolk, and Dijon mustard. Zest the lemon into a bowl and add half to the dressing, reserve the other half to finish the pasta sauce. Juice the entire lemon into the blender. Add half of the grated parmesan cheese to the blender and a pinch of salt.

    Turn on and blend until the anchovy is mostly blended.

    With the blender running on a low speed, drizzle in the vegetable oil. Truly, drizzle in just 1-2 drops at a time. You want to go as slow as you possibly can. Once you get about half of it in, the noise will change and you’ll see it look more like dressing. At this point, you can go a bit faster but don’t ever dump the oil in or the dressing will “break.”

    Remove dressing to a bowl and stir in the black pepper.


    Do you think it broke? It will look chunky instead of smooth like mayo. Don’t worry!

    Crack another egg yolk into a large bowl and add the juice of half of a lemon (or ½ teaspoon cider vinegar). And whisk well. Add 1 Tablespoon of the broken dressing to this yolk while whisking, hard. When that’s smooth, add another Tablespoon of broken dressing and whisk hard. When that’s smooth, you can whisk in the rest of the broken dressing. If it’s too tangy, you slowly drizzle and whisk in another teaspoon or two of vegetable oil.

  • 6. SUGO

    When the pasta is done and sauce has simmered, add the capers. Add the reserved lemon zest. Add about ½ a cup of the pasta water into the sauce and make sure it’s simmering. Then add the hot pasta and butter, if using. Toss to coat well.

  • 7. LETTUCE

    Trim the root off your lettuce and separate large spears. Arrange on a platter and serve with the dressing alongside.

  • 8. SERVING

    Serve the pasta with the sauce in large bowls. Salad on the side. Garnish either, both, or everything in sight with more grated parmesan and thyme leaves to taste. (Chef Alison votes for the latter. Can’t have enough parmesan!)

Check out our new features!


    use GF pasta or serve over creamy polenta
    just omit the butter and parmesan
    you can make the Caesar without the raw egg by using a Tablespoon of mayo instead. Mayo technically has eggs too though, so use Vegan mayo to be completely egg free
    even if you think you don’t like them, you will like this! But, if you must, omit
  • VEGAN:
    omit anchovy and use a tablespoon of vegan mayo instead of the egg yolk
    don’t toss it out! You can keep it in the fridge and add to your next batch of scrambled eggs within a week. Or just freeze it in a small bowl or clean ice cube tray. To use, simply defrost
    you can’t make Caesar dressing like this with olive oil, so don’t try. You could use peanut or avocado oil though
    for some, leave the sauce off the pasta. For others, perhaps leave the capers out
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