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Spaghetti all' Elsa


  • Salt

  • 1 pound Italian imported dried spaghetti

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), 3 turns of the pan

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or white wine, eyeball it

  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes (San Marzano), plus 1 can (14 ounces)

  • Several leaves basil, torn or chopped, (a handful)

  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add pasta. Cook to al dente, with a bite to it. Heat a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add EVOO, garlic, and red pepper and let them cook 5 minutes, garlic will be soft and light golden. Remove garlic. Add stock or wine and stir 30 seconds, add tomatoes and combine. Season the sauce with salt, to taste, then stir basil in and reduce heat to low. When pasta is cooked, turn off the heat, drain the pasta then add it back to the still-hot, deep pot. Add butter to spaghetti and toss to melt and coat. Add half the red sauce and all of the cheese, work in a handful at a time as you toss to combine. To serve, use tongs or a meat fork to swirl the pasta into buttery, cheesy mounds to pile onto each plate. Top each portion with spoonfuls of remaining sauce.