Just now the house smells deliciously of tomato sauce. Here’s how to make the magic from your very own pantry and garden … this recipe serves 4 moderately hungry people, or two ravenous ones. These are ingredients I consider pantry essentials and always keep on hand.
1 pat butter
1 small to medium yellow onion–or white or purple, diced medium
1 small can tomato sauce, preferably organic
1/2 small can tomato paste, preferably organic
basil from the garden (or dried Italian herbs), 12 large leaves each standard and Thai
1 small hot pepper (I used a ripe black olive pepper from my garden–thimble-sized and very hot), or cayenne pepper
white and black peppercorns
pasta, preferably Italian (I use 2-2.5 oz per person)
good Parmesan cheese
In a stainless steel saucepan, melt a pat of butter over gentle heat.
Add a small to medium onion, diced medium.
Add a small hot pepper if you have one, diced fine. Otherwise, add a sprinkle or two of cayenne pepper.
Wash a dozen leaves each standard and Thai basil (more if the leaves are small). Slice into the pan using herb scissors. (If you have no fresh basil on hand, add dried Italian herbs to taste after adding the tomato sauce, paste, and water.)
Saute gently until the onion begins to brown.
Add the tomato sauce and half the can of tomato paste, plus enough water to thin the sauce to your liking. (Add more paste to thicken the sauce.)
Add half a dozen grinds each white and black pepper. Taste, and correct the seasoning if needed.
Simmer the sauce while you put well-salted water on to boil. At the boil, toss in a small handful of good spaghetti (such as Lidia’s) for each person, and reduce the heat to medium high. Cook al dente and drain.
Plate the pasta and sauce in pasta bowls or on large rimmed plates, top with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately to people you love (including you).