$4 Spaghetti That’s Almost as Good as $24 Spaghetti

$4 Spaghetti That’s Almost as Good as $24 Spaghetti Recipe
Photo: John Kernick
"The $24 spaghetti from Scott Conant's Scarpetta in NYC is so delicious," says Roy Choi of L.A.'s Kogi empire. "My $4 version tastes almost as good." Roy's trick: flavoring tomato sauce with a quick mushroom broth and slow-cooked garlic.


4 to 6 servings plus 4 cups of sauce

Recipe from

Food & Wine

Recipe Time

Active: 30 Minutes
Total: 3 Hours


4 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
3/4 cup (4 ounces, from about 4 heads) peeled garlic cloves
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
56 ounces (2 cans) peeled Italian tomatoes with their juices
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated; for serving


In a saucepan, bring the mushrooms and 3 cups of water to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the broth is reduced to 1 cup, 1 hour. Strain and discard the mushrooms.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the garlic and olive oil to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until the garlic is very tender and golden, about 30 minutes.

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, bring the tomatoes and the garlic and oil to a boil. Add the mushroom broth and, using an immersion blender, puree the sauce until smooth. Bring the sauce back to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat until thickened, about 1 hour. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain the spaghetti and return to the pot. Add 2 cups of the sauce and cook, tossing, for 1 minute. Transfer the spaghetti to bowls, top with the basil and serve with grated cheese.


Roy Choi,

August 2012
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