It's safe to say that Americans love tomatoes in all their many forms.
On average, tomatoes account for almost a quarter of the vegetables Americans eat per day, whether raw, as a soup, in juice. When it comes to cooking at home, the numbers are no different—a quarter of Americans use tomatoes as a sauce with pasta when they're making spaghetti. Another fifteen percent proceed to order tomato-based spaghetti (often prepared as a delicious meat sauce) when dining out.
If you've landed here today, you're likely looking for an easy spaghetti recipe so that you, too, can be one of the 20-something percent that cooks gourmet meals at home without the hassle. Well, you're in luck!
We've tried and tested all the recipes we could to deliver you the following, mouthwatering details. Keep reading to learn all about what makes a fantastic plate of spaghetti—from the heavenly tomato base to the classic Italian pasta—and don't forget the fresh herbs on top!
- Foundations First: Picking Out Your Pasta
- Step Two Is for Tomato Sauce
- Optional (And Recommended): Meat Sauce!
- Time to Get Creative - Or Keep It Classic
- Finally, Use Those Ingredients to Make This EASY Spaghetti Recipe
- Don't Forget About Spaghetti at Dinner Time
Foundations First: Picking Out Your Pasta
As you might suspect, spaghetti noodles are one of the most popular choices for making spaghetti. After all, it's in the name!
Spaghetti noodles are ideal for this pasta dish because of their thickness—not too thick to get lost in your hearty meal, but not too thin to be lackluster. The long, cylindrical noodles absorb flavors well. They're an excellent backbone to a classic spaghetti recipe—with no interest in stealing the show.
Of course, when you're cooking in your kitchen, the only rules are your own. If you'd prefer fun shapes (think Mardi Gras or alligator), that works, too. Substitute any pasta of your choice on a 1:1 ratio.
Step Two is for Tomato Sauce
When it comes to spaghetti recipes, it's hard to determine what's more important—the pasta or the tomato sauce.
Regardless of which camp you fall into, we encourage you to choose a tomato sauce that encompasses all the best bits about spaghetti. It should be spiced adequately, offering a complexity to the meal, and contain only the freshest ingredients. Look for sauces that include ingredients like garlic, onion, vine-ripened tomatoes, even a dash of honey!
As far as the texture, that's up to you, too. Choose from chunky or smooth, spicy or not. The spaghetti dish is your oyster.
Optional (And Recommended): Meat Sauce!
Are you a meat lover?
If so, you'll want to try adding ground meat to your tomato sauce, too!
Perhaps one of the best things about a traditional spaghetti recipe is the ability to play around with it. You can keep the dish traditional—pasta, sauce, voilà—or you can add ingredients to it at your heart's desire. Anything tastes good, but especially some tender, seasoned ground meat.
Which meat is best?
There's no correct answer here. Choose from ground beef, ground turkey, lamb meatballs, chicken; you can't go wrong.
Time to Get Creative - Or Keep It Classic
As we mentioned above, several ingredients go well with a traditional spaghetti recipe.
If you're a fan of garlic, you might sauté a few cloves in a separate pan first, then stir them into the meat sauce. If you love topping all your meals with fresh herbs, spaghetti pairs wonderfully with all kinds—basil, Italian parsley, and oregano are three of the best!
Do you love vegetables? Consider adding some chopped mushrooms, peppers, or raw tomatoes. If you love cheese (don't we all?), don't miss the opportunity to shave fresh parmesan or pecorino Romano on top of your plate.
Finally, don't forget that a fantastic foundation is all you need. If you're in a hurry, skip these add-ins and just make a classic easy spaghetti recipe. We promise you won't be disappointed.
That brings us to the best part yet!
Finally, Use Those Ingredients to Make This Easy Spaghetti Recipe
Once you've picked out your favorite small-batch spaghetti noodles, compiled jars of your favorite tomato sauce, bought the best meat you could find, and collected your fresh herbs, it's time for the fun part—cooking.
The following recipe makes spaghetti night a breeze. First, gather your ingredients:
- 1 pound of your meat of choice
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 cup of chopped white onion
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 24-oz. can of chunky tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
- A pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1 cup of water (or brine, for more depth of flavor)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 12 ounces of spaghetti noodles or your favorite fun pasta shape
- ½ cup of shredded parmesan
- Fresh basil, Italian parsley, or oregano for garnish
Heat olive in a large pot over medium-high heat, then cook your meat until it's browned (about 8 minutes), breaking it up as you go.
Add the onions, allowing them to soften over five minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and your spices—dried oregano and red pepper. Mix these ingredients, stirring continuously for another minute.
Add the water, can of tomato sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a low simmer, cooking uncovered for 25 minutes. Add more spices and seasoning as needed!
Fifteen minutes before your sauce is ready, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta per the instructions on the label, checking a minute or so early to ensure it's not overcooked. Take the sauce off the heat, add the fresh basil and pasta, then stir for one final minute so flavors meld together.
Top with cheese if desired. Bon appétit!
Don't Forget About Spaghetti at Dinner Time
Making a delicious pasta dish at home doesn't have to be difficult.
As this easy spaghetti recipe proves, you can cook gourmet-style meals from the comfort of your kitchen. From a spiced tomato and meat sauce to the authentic, air-dried pasta, this hearty meal is sure to satisfy all the tastebuds in your house. It doesn't hurt to add a side of toasted bread with extra virgin olive oil, either!
At Dagostino Handmade Pasta, you'll find the spaghetti noodles you need, the Goldilocks offering of tomato sauces, and your favorite Italian oils and vinegars—among others.
Click here to begin shopping for next week's pasta dishes!