We love pasta of all types and sauces of all flavors. In the Summer when fresh tomatoes are readily available, I make homemade red sauces on a regular rotation. You just can't get the same flavor from canned supermarket goods.
It's amazing to think that just four tomatoes can make enough sauce for two pasta plates. Look at the color on these things! Quay got these about seven days or so before I used them and they've ripened on the counter during that time.
I use all types of tomatoes for red sauce: heirloom, grape, cherry, Roma (of course), vine... many times mixing a combination of what I happen to have on hand.
Vines have less water and seeds than heirlooms but also keep their structure during cooking so you end up with a great combo of liquid and solids in a short period of time.
If you've read about our love for garlic before, you'll know I use more than what's typically called for in recipes. For this one, five cloves seemed about right. Don't be that fool who uses two cloves!
This dish is so damn simple, even your doggie can do it. Or at least it'll beg for treats while watching you do it.
All you have to do is dice all the tomatoes, slice the garlic, grab some thyme, and you're off to the races. It's easier than ordering Popeye's from Postmates. And it's quicker, too.
No, you don't have to remove the skin.
Start by putting your pan on medium heat. Add EVOO and add the garlic once it shimmers. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and just starts to turn brown on the edges. Turn the heat down slightly if it seems too hot or the garlic starts to burn.
Add the tomatoes, thyme, oregano, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and season with sea salt and black pepper. Add a bit more EVOO, too. Get this to a nice simmer and plan to cook for about 30 minutes or so. It's a quick fresh sauce - to me any sauce that takes less than an hour is quick - but does take time to break down the tomatoes.
Check out this sauce. It's softly chunky with most of the liquid cooked down. The water evaporates leaving so much flavor in the thickened final product. Taste and add more salt if needed. You can pull out the thyme sprigs if you want. I leave them in so it feels rustic and homemade.
Spaghetti takes about 10 minutes to cook. Make sure to add a good punch of salt to the water. It's where much of the flavor comes from. Plus, some of the starchy, salty water will be added into the sauce. And remember: this ain't your Grandma's pasta, so don't add oil to the pasta water. For real.
Never add oil to your pasta water! It prevents the noodles from soaking up that flavorful sauce.
Add a small handful of chopped basil into the sauce and then use tongs to add the pasta into the sauce pan, letting any excess water go into the sauce. Stir it all around, and then add ¼ cup or less of pasta water and stir some more. Let it sit for a few minutes then stir again, tossing everything around to work the sauce into the noodles.
Use a long serving fork to twirl up a nice portion of noodles and push it off onto a plate. Top with extra sauce, basil, thyme, and finish with some micro-planed Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Don't skimp on the cheese - spend the extra dollars and get the real deal from Italy. Cheap parmesan, even if fresh, doesn't compare. And forget about the stuff in a container that can be stored for years. I'll try to forget you mentioned it.
🐶 Leela Storm's Suggested Pairings
- 🎵 N.E.R.D.: Run To The Sun
- 🍷 Cabernet Sauvignon
- 🍷 Oaky California Chardonnay
- 🍸 Belevedere up, with a twist
🍽 Hotel Critique
Making a scratch sauce is satisfying enough on its own, but what really sets this dish apart from standard "spaghetti" is the fresh thyme that tops the completed dish.
The best thyme to use has an edible, thin green stem which packs a ton of flavor compared to just using the leaves you'll get from a woody sprig. Grab a stem and just eat it alone - get to know how amazing the flavor is. I use thicker sprigs for cooking in the sauce and thin ones for garnishing.
The additional basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano are standards and don't have substitutes, so don't leave them out. Oregano helps provide a foundation to the base sauce - I used dried because it's all I had on hand.
When put all together, each component complements the other and you end up with an elevated pasta dish that will make everyone a fan.
Don't forget a baguette to mop up that extra sauce!
Don't regret not buying a baguette! It's required.
- Spaghetti doesn't have to be boring - elevate it with a homemade sauce and the simple addition of fresh herbs.
- Now that you can make your own sauce, please say goodbye to ALL store-bought bullshit .jarred sauces - they're full of junk and nasty flavor.
- There's never been a better time to fall in love with thyme.
- Leela likes pasta days because pasta means baguettes, and baguette chunks end up in her doggy belly.
- There's no substitute for Parmigiano-Reggiano - it's the real deal and worth its price.