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Classic Tomato Spaghetti Recipe-15950

Photo by: David Loftus
Comments: 1


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This pasta sauce takes minutes to cook. What’s great about this recipe for beginner cooks is that once you’ve done it a few times you can add other simple ingredients to your basic tomato sauce to completely transform it. Check out the end of the recipe, where I’ve given you some ideas to get started.

Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 fresh red chile
  • A small bunch of fresh basil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • Olive oil
  • 1 x 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese



To prepare your pasta

Peel and finely slice the garlic. Finely slice your chile (halve and seed it first if you don’t want the sauce too hot). Pick the basil leaves off the stalks and put to one side. Finely chop the stalks.  

To cook your pasta

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook accoding to the package instructions. Meanwhile, put a large saucepan on a medium heat and add 2 good lugs of olive oil. Add the garlic, chile, and basil stalks and give them a stir. When the garlic begins to brown slightly, add most of the basil leaves and the canned tomatoes. Turn the heat up high and stir for a minute. Season with salt and pepper. Drain the spaghetti in a colander then transfer it to the pan of sauce and stir well. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

These can be added to your tomato sauce when it’s finished. Just stir in and warm through:

Add a handful of baby spinach leaves to the sauce at the same time you add the pasta—when the leaves have wilted remove from the heat and serve with some crumbled goat’s cheese on top.

A few handfuls of cooked shrimp and a handful of chopped arugula with the juice of ½ a lemon.

A can of tuna drained and flaked into the sace with ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, some black olives and the juice of ½ a lemon.

A handful of fresh or frozen peas and fava beans


    © 2009 Jamie Oliver

    Note from Cookstr's Editors

    A lug of olive oil is equivalent to 1 tablespoon.


    Nutritional Information

    Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

    This recipe serves 6, and includes 1/2 teaspoon of added salt.

    412kcal (21%)
    619mg (26%)
    11g (17%)
    4g (21%)
    17mg (6%)
    53mcg RAE (2%)
    7mg (11%)
    251mg (25%)
    3mg (19%)

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    • eve

      03.17.10 Flag comment

      Made this for dinner and loved it. It's delicious. However, it's hard to believe it's supposed to cover a full pound of pasta; it is extremely minimally sauced. I have read all about how Americans over-sauce pasta and that the Italian way is to be quite sparing with it, but even so, for my tastes, this recipe adequately sauces only half a pound of pasta. Will be making it again, though. Fast and easy and tasty as can be.


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