Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Rose Nguyen
6 servings

Although any purchased spaghetti will do, this dish becomes special enough for company if you use artisanal pasta (see "Fantastic Pasta You Can Buy," below.

How to Make It

Step 1

Squeeze juice and seeds from tomato halves into a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl, reserving juices; discard seeds. Finely chop tomatoes.

Step 2

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds or just until garlic begins to brown, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, reserved juices, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 15 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring occasionally.

Step 3

Bring 6 quarts water and remaining 2 tablespoons salt to a boil in an 8-quart pot. Add pasta to pot; stir. Cover; return water to a boil. Uncover and cook 8 minutes or until pasta is almost al dente. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.

Step 4

Add hot pasta and reserved cooking water to tomato mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until sauce is thick and pasta is al dente, tossing to combine. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with basil; toss. Place 1 cup pasta mixture on each of 6 plates. Drizzle each serving with 1/2 teaspoon of remaining oil; sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Step 5

Fantastic pasta you can buy: Imported Italian artisanal dried pasta can be hard to find, but it's worth the search when you want authenticity. It's made with the highest quality wheat, which gives it superior flavor, and the dough is extruded through bronze dies, resulting in beautiful shapes with porous surfaces to which sauce readily clings. It's also slowly dried, producing a sturdier product.

Step 6

Look at local specialty markets and online grocery stores for quality imported artisanal pasta. A few of the top brands:

Step 7

Latini: Look for their heirloom wheat Senatore cappelli or Taganrog riccioli (curls) pastas.

Step 8

Benedetto Cavalieri and Martelli: Both produce excellent spaghetti, bucatini, and short pastas like penne and fusilli.

Step 9

Pasta di Gragnano, Setaro, and Gerardo di Nola: All make traditional shapes from the Neapolitan region of Campania, like candele (candle-shaped, long hollow tubes, meant to be broken), calamari (short, wide rings), paccheri (oversized rigatoni), and fusilloni (large corkscrews).

Ratings & Reviews

Simply Fantastic

October 13, 2015
This simple recipe is a delicious way to use up end of season fresh tomatoes. 

Paigecline's Review

September 21, 2014
What to do with fresh tomatoes at the end of summer... I love when fresh simple ingredients turn out so delicious. It was hard for me to not add Italian Seasoning, but I refrained and made as is, and loved it. Will make again.

klc61nv's Review

November 11, 2013

JennHalt's Review

September 04, 2013
This is a FIVE STAR recipe. I made this with fresh tomatoes from my mom's garden and was blown away by the flavor of this sauce! You can do anything with it. I then made a 4x batch and have been eating this sauce on everything. I like that this is a simple, healthy, no sugar added sauce that really lets the beauty of the tomato shine through. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

almaealis's Review

September 22, 2011
Absolutely delicious! This is what spaghetti and tomato sauce is supposed to taste like. I can't go back to the bottled variety after trying this!

dgitlin612's Review

July 30, 2011
Made exactly as written, except used regular tomatoes fresh from the garden instead of plum. (The regular tomatoes cook down a lot more than plum, so you need to use more of them.) The taste is wonderful and this is very easy to make.

bschwarz's Review

September 12, 2010
This was very yummy. Fresh indgredients are essential.Added wine to sauce. Served with caesar salad. Mother in law suggested soaking tomatos in boiling water for easy peeling. Old canning trick. Worked great.

heathermahoney's Review

April 13, 2010
love this recipe for how fresh and light it is, great summer dish. i use barilla plus pasta.

Mikala's Review

March 23, 2010
Great recipe. Delish! Definitely use all fresh ingredients. I also topped the pasta off with some Italian turkey sausage. Will make again and again and again.

KellyFV's Review

March 21, 2010
This was good and easy! I substituted San Marzano canned whole tomatoes for the fresh ones and it was excellent.