I have tried a MILLION times to make a simple yet flavorful red sauce and every attempt failed.
This sauce is packed full of fresh tomato flavor and hand picked herbs (aka my cute little basil plant on my window sill). Built slowly and given plenty of time to develop this is one of my favorite recipes EVER. Like, ever.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes **I used San Marzano**
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 basil sprigs
- 1 tablespoon of torn basil leaves
- 1 lb spaghetti, cooked al dented according to package directions
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley **I didn't have on hand so I used dried**
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Set a mesh strainer over a mixing bowl. Pour in the tomatoes letting the juice separate out into the bowl below.
With your hands crush the tomatoes to extract more juice.
**Beware I got covered in tomato. Next time I will slice them in half with a knife first. Whoops.
Set the tomatoes aside. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a sauté pan and heat over medium. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent (approx. 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Add 1/2 of the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the strained tomatoes, sugar and salt.
Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. The tomatoes will soften and the sauce will be slightly thicker.
Add the reserved tomato juice and bring the sauce to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Remove the sauce from the heat, add 4 sprigs of basil and set aside.
While the sauce is simmering...
Boil a large pot of water, salt, and cook spaghetti until al dente.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water when you go to drain.
Place the pasta pot back on the stove over a medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the other half of garlic and a pinch of red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Remove the basil from the tomato sauce. Add the sauce to the skillet. Simmer until warmed through.
Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat. Thin the sauce with the pasta cooking water, if needed.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese, torn basil and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Garnish with additional cheese and basil, if desired. Serve immediately.