Before you even ask, I’m going to just tell you that having 11 different ways to make spaghetti is not at all obsessive or bizarre. I collect spaghetti recipes the way that some people collect vintage coffee grinders or beautiful art glass.
So when I saw that Martha Stewart (well, her people) had put together this inventively cinchy recipe, I was all over it. Admittedly, I was more curious than hopeful; I mean there really is no way you could throw spaghetti ingredients into a pot of water and hope for much.
So how wrong was I? As it turns out, I was quite wrong, indeed…you actually can throw all of your spaghetti ingredients into a pot of water and create an amazingly tasty pasta dish. No, it really is GOOD, dinner’s ready in 30 minutes (or less) and you’ve only dirtied one pan. So yes, this one’s definitely going into the collection.
So here’s the deal… place 4 ½ cups of water in a large skillet and add your pasta and sauce ingredients (tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper). Bring this to a boil and let everything cook down for about 9 minutes or so. I found that if you remove the pan from the heat, cover it and let it sit for another 5 to 10 minutes, the pasta will finish absorbing the sauce and everything melds together into one harmoniously lovely pasta dish.
And this is actually what makes this recipe pretty special - as the pasta absorbs all of those luscious flavors, it becomes ever more tasty than pasta that is simply cooked in boiling water.
I would ever so humbly suggest you give this one a try. I know I’ve taken all the suspense out it for you, but there's really nothing wrong with knowing you’re in for a happy ending. Here’s the recipe…
This really does turn out an amazingly delicious pan of pasta. The only change I made was to let the pasta sit for a few minutes after it’s done cooking so it has time to finish absorbing some of the sauce ingredients.
Recipe adapted from Martha Steward, Everyday Food
12 ounces linguine or spaghetti
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 1/2 cups water
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
1. Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 - 11 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (At this point, I removed the pan from the heat, covered it and let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes to let the pasta finish absorbing the sauce ingredients.
2. Divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with olive oil and Parmesan.
As a footnote to this yummy pasta recipe, I thought I'd let you guys know that I did make it with a 14-0z can of diced, fire-roasted tomatoes and it was really good! So if you're not in the mood to chop all those tomatoes (which we love, BTW), a can of diced will work too! I cut back on the water by 1/4 cup though. I also substituted spaghetti for the linguini, and of course, it worked perfectly.