Stacy's Pasta And Sauce

10 Minute Meals

Those of you who know me well know that I eat pasta and sauce everyday. And by everyday, I mean everyday. Yes, yes, it's a disaster, I quite agree! But it is a very delicious and satisfying disaster.

Because I eat this so often and because I am usually the only one who eats it, I tend to make an easy, basic version with no frills. This is Pasta and Sauce: The Staple.

Dice the onion, saute onion and garlic, add canned crushed tomatoes, add pepper and herbs.

The Sauce

Once you make the large vat of sauce, you're set for a month!

  1. In a large pot, saute 1 diced onion and lots of chopped garlic (at least 4, but feel free to go nuts) in olive oil until bubbly and soft.
  2. Dump in 3-4 large cans of crushed tomatoes (one of these cans could be diced tomatoes in juice).
  3. Add a bit of kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and stir about.
  4. Keep the sauce simmering for at least a half hour and up to one hour. Or more. Periodically, add more salt and pepper, and closer to the end, a bit of sugar.
  5. I find adding at least one (and hopefully more than one) fresh herb to be essential. I often go for rosemary, thyme or oregano for a deeper, peppery sauce. Basil and parsley are good for a fresh summery sauce. I usually add some of the herbs early to steep in the sauce and then a few at the end to make the flavor more definitive.

I make enough sauce to last awhile. I put it in several different containers and freeze most of them for later dates. This way, I always have some on hand. It makes putting meals together very fast. Tomorrow night, all I need to do is cook the pasta!

The Pasta

It's pretty much always spaghetti. I know, not very inventive. But spaghetti—you can't beat it. I have a somewhat peculiar way of making it owing to time spent in China. Whether I didn't have something to drain the spaghetti with or couldn't find a colander, I can't remember. But I started just using chopsticks to cook and drain the spaghetti, and eventually I found it to be a better method because it means you have fewer things to wash later! And then I eat the spaghetti with chopsticks. Because of the nature of spaghetti, it's a lot easier than using a fork.

Special Note: It's unacceptable to eat leftover spaghetti. Do not attempt. Make it new every night.
Another Special Note: My Italian family breaks the spaghetti in half before they cook it. This is unacceptable. Don't do it.

  1. Bring a pot 3/4 full with salted water to a rapid boil.
  2. Dump in a fistful of spaghetti for each person (I have rather small fists).
  3. Use chopsticks to stir into water until totally submerged.
  4. Make sure the water is boiling rapidly. No cover!
  5. "Real" Italians supposedly add oil. This is true in my family, but I heard elsewhere that its usefulness is mainly mythological and potentially even harmful to the pasta! I couldn't risk it again! Besides, my spaghetti never sticks and yours won't either provided you submerge it quickly and keep the water boiling rapidly.
  6. You will develop a cosmic intuition that will tell you the precise moment when the pasta is ready. Until then, check it vigilantly. Even one second past the al dente point is sacrilege. You might as well just throw out the whole pot and start over. My poor Grandmother has to eat spaghetti mushy because that's the way my Grandfather likes it. Poor Grandma! She really is a saint.
  7. When done, scoop out the spaghetti in batches with your chopsticks.
  8. If you have just made the sauce, you can dump it in direct. If you are using leftover sauce from the fridge, I dump out the boiling water, add the requisite amount of sauce, and heat up. Then I dump the spaghetti back in and mix the sauce through.
  9. I like to add fresh, shredded (not powdered) percorino-romano cheese rather than parm. I don't know why: it's saltier? Because I am a fanatic, I usually mix the cheese into spaghetti while it's still in the pan to ensure even distribution. I want every strand coated!

Better Sauces?

There are easy ways to enhance the sauce. Using fresh herbs is the quickest way to do this. I also find adding a few fresh tomatoes can make the sauce taste more summery. And don't forget to dump in the red wine!

Easy Herbs

I'm just not interested in picking every tiny thyme leaf off of the stem. No. I just put in sprigs of rosemary, oregano, and/or thyme and take them out at the end. I do chop basil and parsley.

EgO at UMassEgO at UMass



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