Scarpetta Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

This spaghetti is among the first recipes of mine that got a lot of attention, and I love that fact because it exemplifies everything I believe in as a chef: treating ingredients with respect, paying attention to detail, and elevating simplicity.

Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from The Scarpetta Cookbook, by Scott Conant (c) 2013.

Scarpetta Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

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    Kosher salt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    Scarpetta Tomato Sauce 16 whole fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
    1 pound fresh spaghetti extra-virgin olive-oil, for drizzling
    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


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    • 1

      Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.

    • 2

      Meanwhile, put the tomato sauce in a large sauté pan and cook over medium heat to further concentrate the sauce’s flavors.

    • 3

      Cook the spaghetti until just shy of tender. Reserve some of the pasta cooking water and gently drain the spaghetti. Add the spaghetti and a little of the pasta cooking water to the pan with the sauce; the starch and salt in that water will help the sauce adhere to the pasta. Give the pan a good shake, increase the heat to medium-high, and let the pasta finish cooking in the sauce. The sauce should coat the pasta and look cohesive, and when you shake the pan, the sauce and pasta should move together.

    • 4

      Take the pan off the heat and add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, butter, and basil. Using two wooden spoons (tongs can tear the fresh pasta), toss everything together well.

    • 5

      Divide the pasta among serving bowls. Finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and serve.


    Which wine?

    A red wine with low acidity will counter the intense tomato sauce. Barbera or Dolcetto should work well. Choose a classic with medium body and dark red fruits, like Enaudi or Marcarini.

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