Chef Scott Conant’s tomato basil spaghetti is my favorite spaghetti of all time. It’s actually one of the best bites I’ve ever eaten. It might seem strange than I’m making such a big declaration about something as simple as spaghetti. I would have thought the same thing until I tasted it at Scarpetta.
It’s hard to describe, you really just have to try it out for yourself. The fresh and thick pasta noodles are perfectly cooked. The sauce is slightly spicy, very creamy, and not like any other tomato sauce I’ve ever eaten. Chef Scott Conant’s recipe seems to transcend the tomatoes. The sauce lacks the acidity and tartness of normal tomato sauces and is more an orange hue rather than red.
Since we can’t afford to eat at Scott Conant’s restaurant, Scarpetta, all the time, we began making the spaghetti at home. I’ll admit, our homemade version never tastes quite as good. But it’s still a pretty good spaghetti sauce and our “go to” one when we have too many tomatoes in the house.
I previously had my
minions siblings to help with the labor. The recipe is actually not that hard, but the peeling and de-seeding of the tomatoes is a little time consuming. This time around I only had Mr. K. I convinced him to help me out in the kitchen. Of course, “helping” meant he peeled about 5 while I peeled 15. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts right?
I like to make a big batch whenever I make this, so there are a lot of leftovers. You can view the full recipe here. One note, the recipe includes canned tomatoes, but Chef Conant suggests using all fresh if possible. So we used 20 fresh tomatoes and no canned ones.
Scott Conant’s Spaghetti
- 4 large basil leaves sliced into ribbons
- ½ tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 20 ripe plum tomatoes cored
- 2 tsbp extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of red chili flakes
- Pinch of kosher salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 stems of basil with leaves
- Pinch of red chili flakes
- 3 ounces spaghetti
How to Make the Sauce
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place ice in a large bowl and fill it with water to make an ice bath. Take the cored tomatoes and score the bottom of each with an “X”. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and blanche them for 15 minutes or until the skin starts to pull away from the flesh. Transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath and, once cooled, peel the tomatoes.
- Slice each tomato in half and remove the seeds (reserve the seeds and excess juices and set aside).
- In a new pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes to the pot along with a pinch of salt and chili flakes. Cook the tomatoes until they start to soften and then smash them with a potato masher. If you need to thin mashed potatoes, add the reserved juice (seeds removed). Cook the tomatoes for 30 to 45 minutes, mashing them and stirring occasionally.
- While the tomatoes cook, make the basil-garlic oil. In a small saucepan combine ¼ cup of olive oil with the whole garlic cloves, basil, and a pinch of chili flakes. Turn on the heat and slowly warm the oil. Once the garlic is lightly browned remove the saucepan from the heat and cool the oil for five minutes. Remove the basil and garlic from the oil and transfer the oil to the tomatoes.
- Stir the sauce, remove it from the heat and adjust the seasoning, as needed. Yields approximately 2 cups of sauce.
How to Make the Pasta
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water generously with salt. Add the spaghetti and boil it according to package directions, or until it’s al dente.
- While the pasta boils, warm the sauce in a saute pan over medium heat until it reaches a low simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain the simmer (you may need to lower it) and allow the sauce to reduce a bit. Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the sauce in the pan. Add a splash of pasta water and adjust the heat to medium-high. Cook the pasta in the sauce for a few minutes, or until the sauce has adhered to the pasta.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the basil, butter, and olive oil. Toss the pasta until the butter has melted. Serve immediately.
- The tomato sauce recipes makes more than you will need to for 3 ounces of spaghetti (which serves 2). Use approximately 6 ounces of the sauce and save the rest to use later.
- I like to use fresh tomatoes for the sauce, but you can substitute canned.
- Recipe source: Serious Eats
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.