Recipe: Pasta alla Elizabeth Taylor

Words by Belmond Editors

Recipe: Pasta alla Elizabeth Taylor

A group of young friends are walking quickly and talking animatedly on Portofino's harbour wall  in this black and white image

Deceptively simple but with depths of flavour: enter the humble tomato spaghetti, named after the Hollywood starlet who loved it so.

“I found my love in Portofino” crooned the singer Fred Buscaglione in the 1950s. We don’t blame him: with its pastel-hued buildings and sun-drenched harbour, Portofino certainly possesses a romantic charm.

At this glamorous Italian resort, one of the most infamous marriages in history began. At Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino, Richard Burton proposed to Elizabeth Taylor on a wisteria-clad terrace. During the 1960s, the starry couple often holidayed in stylish Portofino. Despite her opulent onscreen roles and larger-than-life personality, Elizabeth Taylor’s tastes were often surprisingly simple. Rumour has it that the screen goddess loved traditional spaghetti with tomato sauce. In honour of her tastes and legacy, Splendido’s executive chef Corrado Corti created Spaghetti alla Elizabeth Taylor. Made with fresh tomatoes from San Marzano, Sorrento and Pachino, the dish is incidentally one of the most popular at our hilltop hotel.


  • 800g bronze-drawn spaghetti
  • 1kg cherry tomatoes (400g for sauce, 600g for confit)
  • 500g vine tomatoes
  • 225ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 100g basil
  • 5g dried oregano
  • 5g thyme
  • 20g brown sugar
  • Lemon zest (half a lemon)
  • Pinch of salt


Step 1 / 5

Create the tomato confit. Slice 600g of cherry tomatoes in half and season them with thyme, salt, brown sugar and lemon zest. Cook in the oven at 80C/175F for 3 hours.

Step 2 / 5

Quickly boil the vine tomatoes in hot water until you can gently remove the skin, then slice them sideways.

Step 3 / 5

Cook the spaghetti in boiling water with salt until al dente.

Step 4 / 5

In a separate pan, heat some olive oil with garlic and basil, then add the remaining cherry tomatoes. Once the pasta is ready, add it to the pot. Add the vine tomatoes and, at the very end, the confit tomatoes.

Step 5 / 5

Finish with a pinch of oregano and basil leaves.

Two Romantic Retreats on the Italian Riviera


At this storied perch in the Portofino hills, sophistication is woven into a fabric of rich history.


Splendido Mare

Situated by the water's edge in Portofino harbour, Splendido Mare is the epitome of Ligurian lifestyle.


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