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Scarpetta's Spaghetti With Tomato And Basil

Note: Vary the ratio of canned to fresh tomatoes according to the season. If fresh, flavorful tomatoes are available, use all fresh; if tomatoes lack some flavor, supplement with canned.
Author: Hip Foodie Mom


  • 3 ounces spaghetti
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces tomato sauce recipe follows
  • 4 large leaves of basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ripe plum or roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 of a can San Marzano tomatoes or Plum tomatoes from Trader Joe's
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of red chili flakes optional
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic whole
  • 2 stems of basil leaves on
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • Black olives


  • Yields 2 cups
  • Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by placing ice in a bowl and filling with cold water. Core tomatoes with a paring knife, and discard cores. Score the bottom of each tomato with an "X." When water has come to a boil, place tomatoes in water and leave for 15 seconds, until skin begins to split away. Transfer to ice bath. When cool, peel with paring knife.
  • Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Remove seeds with your thumb, and set seeded tomatoes aside. Reserve seeds and excess juices. If using canned tomatoes, seed in the same way. You can use both fresh and canned tomatoes.
  • In a new pot, place 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully transfer tomatoes to the pot. Add a pinch of salt and chili flakes. If adding olives, you can add the olives at this time.
  • Allow the tomatoes to cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften, then smash them with a potato masher. If the consistency is particularly thick, strain excess tomato juices for seeds and add to pot. Allow tomatoes to cook 30 to 45 minutes over medium heat, smashing and stirring occasionally.
  • While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare the basil-garlic oil. Take a small saucepan and place the remaining 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil in the pan. Add garlic cloves, basil, and chili flakes. Slowly heat to allow the flavors to transfer to the oil. When the garlic is lightly browned, remove from the heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Strain the oil and combine with the tomato mixture.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and adjust the seasoning with additional salt, as needed.
  • Directions (you can either mix the pasta and sauce together or serve sauce on top). This shows you how to mix:
  • Place a large pot of water on the stove. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Cook the spaghetti in the water and remove when it is just shy of al dente—depending on the pasta, 3 minutes for fresh, 10 minutes for dried.
  • While the pasta is cooking, place the sauce into a sauté pan and heat slowly. Allow the sauce to reduce slightly. Add the pasta directly to the sauté pan along with a bit of pasta water (only if needed).
  • Mix everything well and allow it to finish cooking, over medium high heat. The sauce should coat the pasta and look cohesive. When you shake the pan, the sauce and pasta should move together.
  • Remove from the heat and add the basil, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Toss until well incorporated. Add salt and pepper if needed and serve immediately.