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Tomato, Olive Oil & Garlic Pantry Spaghetti

June 11 2024
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The simplest of pantry pastas, this recipe (or handful of ingredients) is one I turn to often when in need of a quick, easy, comforting meal.

It’s perfect for those lazy dinner nights when the choice is between eggs on toast or this simple tomato spaghetti dish. I always have at least one can of crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and a packet of spaghetti in my pantry, whether for this recipe or tomato baked eggs. A strategically stocked pantry does wonders, but that’s probably a topic for another time.

There are a few simple but key points to making a dish as simple as this really shine. One crucial aspect is how you prepare the garlic. You can thinly slice the garlic or crush or finely grate it using a microplane. Each method provides a slightly different flavour, and I switch between them based on the taste I want or what I feel like cleaning—the chopping board or the microplane, haha. Grated or crushed garlic offers a stronger, more pervasive flavour throughout the sauce, while sliced garlic results in a mellower taste with occasional pops of garlic. The thin slices also look lovely in the sauce.

Another important factor is using good quality, extra virgin olive oil. Also, finishing the spaghetti by cooking it in the sauce allows the flavours to meld and the sauce to emulsify with the help of starchy pasta water. This step truly makes a difference.

If you prefer using a colander to drain your spaghetti instead of transferring it to the sauce with tongs, remember to save about a cup of the starchy pasta water before draining.

And by all means, if you have fresh basil on hand, add a big handful to the sauce or top the spaghetti with it at the end. I almost always do this in the summer when I have fresh basil growing in a pot on the deck.

Enjoy the recipe!

 

 

 

Tomato, Olive Oil & Garlic Pantry Spaghetti | Gather & Feast

Tomato, Olive Oil & Garlic Pantry Spaghetti | Gather & Feast

 

 


 

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Ingredients

Egg-free, Nut-free, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Soy-free
5 minutes preparation time + 15 minutes cooking time
4-6
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely sliced, grated, or crushed (see garlic notes below)
  • Pinch of chili flakes or Aleppo pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 x 400g can good quality crushed tomatoes (also known as 'tomato polpa')
  • Pinch of sea salt, to taste
  • 500g dried spaghetti
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Extra virgin olive oil for finishing, optional

Method

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Place a large frying pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes. Sauté for a minute or two until fragrant.
  3. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
  4. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer while you cook the spaghetti.
  5. Cook the spaghetti for 2 minutes less than the package instructions.
  6. Using tongs, transfer the spaghetti directly into the pan with the sauce, adding a few spoonfuls of starchy pasta water as you do.
  7. Toss the spaghetti in the sauce over medium to high heat, adding more pasta water as needed to keep the sauce loose.
  8. Once the spaghetti is cooked to your liking, remove the pan from the heat. Add a generous handful or two of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and toss to combine.
  9. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.
  10. Serve topped with more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and freshly cracked black pepper.

 

NOTES

  • Notes on Garlic: For this recipe, you can either thinly slice the garlic or crush or finely grate it using a microplane. Each method provides a slightly different flavour, and I use both regularly depending on the flavour I want or what I feel like washing up—the chopping board or the microplane, ha. Grated or crushed garlic has a more pungent, strong garlic flavour throughout the sauce. In contrast, sliced garlic provides a milder overall flavour with occasional pops of garlic, and the thin slices look lovely in the sauce.
  • If you have fresh basil on hand, feel free to add a big handful to the sauce or top the spaghetti with it at the end. I usually do this in the summer when I have fresh basil growing in a pot on the deck.
  • If your tomato sauce tastes a little tart or acidic, try adding a small pinch of sugar and give it a taste. Sometimes a small pinch of sugar is perfect for balancing the flavours and bringing a more well-rounded taste to the sauce.
  • When adding cold crushed tomatoes to the warm olive oil, the sauce can sometimes split or not emulsify properly. Don’t worry; when you add the spaghetti and some of the starchy pasta water, it will all come together.

Free Resources

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I’m Ashley, welcome to Gather & Feast. Here you'll discover wholesome, and nutritious recipes, baked treats, and delicious desserts. x

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