Fresh-Tasting Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti

There is nothing better tasting than fresh tomato sauce made with the great selection of the fresh tomatoes at the Market.  Almost all tomato-sauce recipes call for at least 30 minutes of cooking, but you can make this tomato sauce in less than 10 minutes by using a large skillet instead of the conventional saucepan. The tomatoes cook faster on the larger surface of the skillet and taste fresher than sauces subjected to 45 minutes of heat. Pasta is added to the sauce in the skillet to finish cooking both pasta and sauce together. This basic tomato sauce can easily be prepared while waiting for the pasta water to come to a boil.   Need pasta and grated cheese?  Shop the market to see what is available.  Ravioli is a great alternative to spaghetti.  And, grape seed oil can be used as an alternative to olive oil.  Mangia! Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt plus 2 to 3 tablespoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 to 6 quarts water
  • 14 to 16 ounces spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or any combination of fresh herbs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for topping pasta (optional)


  1. Peel the tomatoes, if desired, with a vegetable peeler or by blanching the tomatoes in boiling water. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze the juice and seeds into a strainer over a bowl. Chop or process the tomatoes and add to the reserved juice. .
  2. Put the garlic in a large nonstick skillet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Place over moderate heat and cook until the garlic barely begins to color.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes look cooked and most but not all the liquid has evaporated. Add fine sea salt and pepper to taste.
  4. For a smooth sauce, blend the cooked tomatoes in a food processor with the remaining extra-virgin olive oil and return the sauce to the skillet. For a chunky sauce, add the remaining oil before serving.
  5. Bring 5 to 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons salt and the spaghetti; cook until it still offers considerable resistance to the tooth, around three quarters of the cooking time.
  6. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water. Add the drained al dente pasta, 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, and the basil to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Cook over high heat, stirring to mix sauce and pasta, until the pasta is cooked. Add more pasta water if the sauce becomes too dry. Serve immediately, topped with Parmigiano .

Courtesy of