For those who are unaware, October is National Pasta Month. That’s right: waffles and pizza might each have their own day to be celebrated, but pasta gets a whole month to itself.
This is for good reason, though, because pasta is one of the most varied and popular foods in Western culture. There’s spaghetti, fettuccine, linguini, penne and dozens more, and they can be used for an even larger variety of dishes.
So, before National Pasta Month comes to a close in a few days, grab that box of pasta that’s been sitting in your cupboard for weeks and use it to make this simple and delicious spaghetti recipe.
The pasta itself
Unless you are making pasta from scratch, the most important part of the recipe will be the sauce. Here’s a quick tutorial on the basics of cooking store bought pasta before we dive into our sauce recipe.
One 12 oz. box of pasta of your choice
Pinch of salt
Four to eight quarts of water
The only variance in this part of the process depends on the size of pot available. If you’re using a full sized pasta pot, six to eight quarts of water are ideal. If you’re using an average large pot, as little as four will do.
Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then add the pasta and salt. Stir, making sure all the noodles are eventually submerged. Cook until soft, strain and just like that, this step is done.
This sauce is an old reliable classic. You can find dozens of varieties at every grocery store in America, but this recipe is fresh, simple and a good vegan option.
Three bell peppers (one red, one green and one yellow)
One 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
One six oz. can of tomato paste
Approx. one teaspoon of garlic
Approx. two teaspoons of Italian seasoning
Approx. one teaspoon of red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon of brown sugar
One 12 ounce box of pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese
Begin by chopping the peppers and onions into small chunks, and adding to a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the vegetables begin to soften without losing all of their crispness.
Next, add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Continue stirring. At the same time, gradually add your other seasonings while stirring.
As you add your seasonings, taste test your sauce. Everyone’s seasoning preferences are different, so find what you like. For example, the brown sugar is a unique choice that adds a slight sweetness to the sauce.
The best advice when it comes to seasoning is to emphasize adding it gradually. You can always add more, but you can never take away seasoning after it’s been added.
During this time, begin the process of cooking your pasta.
Once the sauce ingredients have begun to congeal into one smooth sauce, bring the heat to a low simmer until your pasta is done cooking.
After the pasta is finished cooking and is strained, do one last taste test of your sauce, adding any dashes of seasoning you think it might need. After this, the cooking portion is all complete.
Combine the noodles, sauce and parmesan cheese on plates for yourself and your guests and serve.
This recipe is a simpleway to celebrate National Pasta Month before it’s over.
Porisch can be reached at [email protected]