The ultimate classic: spaghetti pomodoro e basilico — (tomato-basil sauce)

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Does it get any better than a pasta with tomato sauce full of garlic and basil? Probably not. And in this version, you don’t even need to pluck or chop the basil to infuse the sauce with all that flavor. You can increase or decrease the garlic or crushed red pepper flakes to your taste, but try it this way first — you might surprise yourself. After all, what on this earth goes together better than tomatoes, garlic, basil and crushed red peppers?
If you can, use fresh pasta for this and also those fancy imported canned tomatoes from Italy. It might not seem like the biggest difference, but it really and truly is. The better the ingredients in a recipe as simple as this, the better the outcome — and we’re going for full authenticity here. It might be a little more expensive than the store brand, but hey, it’s cheaper than a ticket to Italy!
Cooktop Cove
Spaghetti pomodoro e basilico
10 minutes
40 minutes
50 minutes
¼ cup olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, pureed
4 whole sprigs fresh basil, plus more for garnish
¾ lb spaghetti
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Once shimmering, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 7-10 minutes.
Add the garlic, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
Add the red pepper flakes, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
Add the pureed tomatoes, and cook until simmering, about 20 minutes.
Add the basil, stir well, and remove from the heat. Cover with a fitted lid.
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Once al dente, reserve a cup of the cooking liquid, and drain the pasta.
Remove the sprigs of basil from the tomato sauce, return the pot to the stove over a medium-high heat, and add the reserved pasta water. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes, depending on how you like your pasta.
Add the Parmesan cheese, stir and taste. Add salt and pepper if desired. Top with reserved basil leaves for garnish, and serve immediately.
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