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Creamy Spaghetti with Marinara & Mascarpone

Creamy Spaghetti with Marinara & Mascarpone


  • 3 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 3 tbsp. sun-dried tomato paste

  • 1 tbsp. Calabrian chile paste or 1 tsp. crushed red pepper

  • 1 ½ tsp. (about 1/2 palmful) dried oregano

  • 1 tsp. (about 1/3 palmful) smoked paprika

  • ½ cup sweet (red) vermouth or vodka

  • 1 tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar

  • 1 can (28 oz.) chopped or crushed Italian San Marzano tomatoes

  • 1 lb. spaghetti

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese

  • Grated Pecorino-Romano, for topping

  • Torn fresh basil leaves, for topping


Step 1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. 

Step 2

In a large deep skillet, heat the oil, three turns of the pan, over medium to medium-high. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic; season with salt and pepper. Stir the onion and garlic until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add about 1/2 cup water and cook, stirring often, until absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chile paste, dried oregano, and paprika and stir until blended, about 1 minute. Add the vermouth and cook until absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in the vinegar, then the tomatoes. Bring to a bubble. Reduce heat to low. Let the sauce simmer while you cook the pasta.

Step 3

Salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook until 1 minute shy of the package directions. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta. 

Step 4

Stir the mascarpone into the sauce. Add the pasta and toss. Add some of the reserved cooking water if the pasta is dry. Toss the pasta until coated well, about 1 minute. Top the pasta with Pecorino and basil.