Chef Richard’s Low-Acid Tomato Sauce and Fettuccine

Tomatoes are very versatile and can add great flavors to some of your favorite recipes.

As we get older reducing the acid content in our favorite foods can make the meal a little easier for those of us who have a lowered tolerance for acidic foods.

Below are some helpful techniques on how to lower the acidity of a tomato sauce, as well as one of my favorite simple, low-acid pasta dishes.

  • Avoid canned tomatoes. Tomatoes in cans or jars tend to have higher acidity than fresh ripe ones, because a higher acid level is generally a desired quality for the canning/preservation process.
  • Select only ripe tomatoes; the firmer the tomato, the more acidic it will be. Buy tomatoes that are in season for the same reason. Sun Gold or Sweet 100’s are among the sweeter varieties of tomatoes.
  • Add a potato during the cooking process. Peel and cut a potato in half, add it to you sauce, then remove it after 20-30 minutes. When the potato comes out, it will have vinegar or pickle taste because it has absorbed some of the acid.
  • Add a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to your tomato sauce to help neutralize the acid.

Low-acid Tomato Sauce and Fettuccine

  • 8-ounce package refrigerated fresh fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 plum tomatoes, blanched and cut
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • ¼  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup quartered artichokes, fresh-blanched, or cut and packed in oil (not canned)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda


  1. Score 8 ripe plum tomatoes with a pairing knife by making a small cross mark on the bottom, and by removing the core. Blanch the tomatoes by dropping them in boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Remove them from the hot water using tongs and drop tomatoes into a bowl of ice water. Peel off the loosened skin, and discard.
  2. Cut the peeled tomatoes into pieces, about 1”.
  3. Place the tomatoes in a saucepan with some extra virgin olive oil and simmer at medium heat for about 10 minutes. The tomatoes should be thoroughly warmed for the next step to work more effectively.
  4. Briefly remove your saucepan from heat and stir in the baking soda. The baking soda will react with the tomatoes to neutralize acidity. You might see a fizzing or bubbling effect when you add the baking soda; wait for this to stop before proceeding.
  5. After your baking soda reaction has stopped, return the saucepan to the heat and add quartered artichokes and fresh basil.
  6. Cook fresh pasta in boiling salted water.
  7. Toss tomato sauce with your cooked fresh pasta and serve.

Calories: 343; fat: 13.3g; saturated fat: 4.2g; monounsaturated fat: 6.2g; polyunsaturated fat: 1.1g; protein: 14.8g; carbohydrate: 43.4g; cholesterol: 51mg; sodium: 541mg.

Chef Richard Plasencia, executive chef at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, joined Baptist Health South Florida in 2011. He is an award-winning chef who is passionate about creating and sharing fresh local and seasonal recipes seasoned with flavor and good health. In addition to an interest in nutrition, Chef Richard has an extensive history in the hospitality industry.

He served as Chef at Town Kitchen & Bar, Jake’s, the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, the Shore Club, Por Fin, and the Conrad Hotel. He also was part of several teams that received the Mobile 4 and 5 star awards, as well as Cioppino being named to America’s Top 50 restaurants by Esquire Magazine 2005, during his time at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Chef Richard Plasencia graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a bachelor of science degree in culinary arts.

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