• Spaghetti with Classic Tomato Sauce


A Quintessential Italian-American Dinner

By Andrew Zimmern

A steaming bowl of al dente spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce, fresh basil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. To round it all out, serve with crusty bread (or breadsticks) and a big salad.

Spaghetti with Classic Tomato Sauce


  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • 48 ounces tomatoes, chopped, in their juices. Canned is acceptable.
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 12 large basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Several pinches chile flake
  • 4 tablespoons sliced garlic
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced anchovies
  • 4 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup of the best olive oil you can get your hands on
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Servings: 6 to 8 (makes enough sauce for 1 pound of dry pasta)

Make the Sauce

Place the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.

Add all of the ingredients except the tomato products, salt and pepper. Saute until shallots are glassy, do not let the garlic burn.

Add the tomato products and stir to incorporate. Simmer until the sauce is no longer watery, 45 to 60 minutes.

Cook the Pasta

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large volume of rapidly boiling salty water to al dente, typically about 8 to 10 minutes (be sure to check manufacturer’s instructions).

Drain pasta quickly and if you need to hold it, cool under cold running water and drain well, tossing with olive oil and storing for a few hours at room temperature in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap.

To Serve

Transfer the cooked spaghetti to a large bowl. Add the sauce, and toss to fully coat the pasta. Serve family style, garnishing with fresh torn basil leaves and grated parmesan.

Photograph by Madeleine Hill.

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