Scott Conant’s Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil

  • 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 30 fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded [See "How to Peel Tomatoes" tutorial]
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 11⁄2 pounds dried spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 24 basil leaves, cut into a fine chiffonade
  • 1⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Add the olive oil to a pan and heat until it begins to smoke lightly. Add the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and the red-pepper flakes. [This step can get messy, especially when the tomatoes hit the oil, so use a lid to shield yourself and the stove top. Remove the lid once the tomatoes have settled into the heat.]

Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher, or a wire whisk, to release all their liquid. Cook for 25 minutes over medium to medium-high heat, until the tomatoes form a semi-chunky sauce.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti. When the pasta has cooked for three-quarters of the time stated on the package, drain it and reserve the water. Add the spaghetti to the sauce and cook over medium-high heat until all the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little of the pasta water to thin out the sauce.

Remove from the heat, and add the butter, basil, and cheese, mixing thoroughly until the pasta is an orange hue. Season to taste with salt.

Serves 6.

Recipe by Scott Conant via New York Magazine.