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5 Dishes to Master: Pasta with Tomato Sauce

I’m kicking off a new series right here, and we’re calling it “5 Dishes to Master.” This 5-part series is for someone who likes to cook at home and wants to do it more often. It’s also for those who haven’t cooked much at all but want to feel more comfortable in the kitchen.

Knowing your way around the kitchen in some regard in important. To get you started, I put together 5 recipes (Chicken, Fish, Steak, Pasta, Salad) to set you up for success. They’re all different yet super simple. Part 1 is all about PASTA! Watch me make it by clicking right here. For the full recipe, keep scrolling!

(You can click here to check out Part 2: Salad.)




Pasta with Tomato Sauce 

Serves 2 to 4 


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1/2 medium Spanish onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste

Pinch of granulated sugar, optional

1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole plum tomatoes

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

10 ounces dried pasta of your choice, such as Rigatoni

¼ teaspoon Calabrian chile flakes

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sweat until soft (but no color is achieved), about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the canned whole tomatoes and their juices. Taste the tomatoes and add a pinch of sugar, if necessary. Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes become soft, about 15 minutes. Once the tomatoes begin to breakdown, crush the tomatoes into a coarse puree using a potato masher.


2  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the dried pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, less 2 minutes of the package’s directions, about 8 minutes. Reserve one cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Set the pasta water and cooked pasta aside.


Continue to simmer the tomato sauce, add the Calabrian chile flakes, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes more.


4  To finish the pasta, working in batches, heat a medium saute pan over medium heat. For each portion, ladle about 4-5 ounces of the tomato sauce into the pan. Add about 1- 2 cups of the drained pasta to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Toss the pasta in the sauce, adding some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce slightly. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the sauce nicely coats the pasta.


5  Turn off the heat and fold in the herbs. Add a pat of butter and some Parmigiano cheese and toss until the sauce glazes the pasta. Transfer the pasta to a shallow bowl. Top with some more fresh herbs, Parmigiano and a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.