Spaghetti with tomato sauce is the classic italian food loved by everybody, especially by children. However, as a teenager, I hated it. The reason was that my mum would cook it way too often according to my taste. I wanted to try other cuisine, other sauces, and fancy meal. Unfotunately for my budding gourmet side, my father dominated the menu creation, and he wanted to stay true to his neapolitan roots. So, any dishes that weren’t neapolitans, or at the very least, southern italian, got a the supreme veto! Because of this, once independant, I refused to cook spaghetti with tomato sauce for a very long time. I rediscovered them only after my first child was born. Since, spaghetti with tomato sauce have become a cornerstone of our diet. This recipe is one of the many that Pellegrino Artusi has included in his Science in the Kitchen and Art of Eating Well.
Ingredients for 4 portions:
320 gr of wholewheat spaghetti
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
400gr (1 can) of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp of extravirgin olive oil
a tiny pinch of crushed chili (optional)
salt to taste
- To prepare your spaghetti with tomato sauce, start by gently heating the oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped vegetables (carrot, celery, and onion) and let them sweat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionaly. Be careful not to brown them.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, a little crushed chili (it has to be a tiny amount: it has to lift and enhance the flavour of your tomato, rather than taking over the dish), then season to taste. Cover the pan, and let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pasta: in a large pot, bring to boil about 3.5 litres of water. Add the salt, let it melt, then add the spaghetti (preferably without snapping them in half!). Let them cook al dente.
- Reserve about 200 ml of the pasta cooking water. Drain the spaghetti and tip them in the pan with the sauce. Add the reserved water, and saute on high heat for a couple of minutes, or until the water has been absorbed.
- Serve your spaghetti with tomato sauce immediately, with plenty of grated parmesan.
You can store any leftover spaghetti with tomato sauce in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 3 days.
To make this dish richer, stir in 100gr of mascarpone a few minutes before taking the sauce off the heat.
Instead of spaghetti, try to use pasta shells or rigatoni: they will hold this chuncky sauce even better.