Capellini al Pomodoro

(a.k.a. Presidential Pasta)

February: Presidents’ Day (third Monday in February)

In 2021, Joseph R. Biden Jr. celebrated his first Presidents’ Day as the president of the United States. We Googled what some of his favorite foods were so we could cook them in observance of this national holiday. The Washington Post reported that capellini al pomodoro (angel hair pasta mixed in a tomato basil sauce) was his most requested dish when he went on speaking engagements for which he would earn up to $200,000US!!! Here are some headlines: “Joe Biden just can’t get enough angel hair pasta” “Joe Biden is contractually obligated to receive angel hair pomodoro at every paid speech”

Obviously, pasta pomodoro is the president’s comfort food. After all, his Italian-American wife, Dr. Jill Biden, cooked it for him throughout their marriage. So we cooked capellini al pomodoro, too, for a delicious dinner on Presidents’ Day.


(Adapted from


  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 medium tomatoes (around 4 cups), diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped finely (plus more to garnish)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta al dente or as directed on the package. Drain the hot cooked pasta but reserve about half a cup to make the tomato-basil sauce. Meanwhile, chop the onions and dice the tomatoes.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Sauté the onions and minced garlic until soft and fragrant. Mix in the tomatoes and stir to release the juices. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Stir in the chopped basil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the pasta and mix well. Pour a little bit of the reserved salted pasta water and stir to make a sauce (add more or less to taste). Stir again to coat the pasta with the sauce. Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and garnish with extra chopped fresh basil leaves. Serve hot.


  • We halved the recipe to feed just the two of us.
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