The Pre-Occupied Man’s Spaghetti

BrianBrian says:
Let’s face it, we can find ourselves relatively busy throughout the week (and some weekends, unfortunately) and cooking can become something of a chore more than an essential trait over time. Now, I can’t really provide an all-inclusive way to end this vicious cycle, but there is a recipe I have up my sleeve to help ease the stress. This spaghetti pomodoro recipe–taught to me by an old Sicilian nanny–is simple, fast and unbelievably delicious. Give it a try the next time you’re feeling swamped. Serves two.


You’ll need:

  •  9 oz. of uncooked spaghetti
  •  1 16-oz. can of peeled tomatoes. If you can your own that’s even better!
  •  3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  •  Extra virgin olive oil
  •  Salt and pepper
  •  Freshly grated cheese (I recommend Parmigiano-reggiano)
  •  Parsley, fresh and chopped (optional)
  •  Red pepper flakes (optional)
  •  Sugar (optional)


1. In a sizable saute pan, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. On medium heat, add the garlic and saute until it starts to brown. At this point, turn off the heat and add the red pepper and parsley (both optional) and let stand for about 10 minutes.

2. Turn the heat back on to medium-low and add the canned tomatoes, crushing them by hand as you add them. Once crushed into the pan, season with salt and pepper. You can add a pinch of sugar as well to eliminate the acidity. Let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes until all the excess water has been cooked away.

3. While this is going on, boil the spaghetti in generously salted water until it’s al dente. Once finished, set one cup of the pasta water to the side and drain.

4. Add about a 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the sauce, let cook for a minute or so then add the pasta to the pan until it’s coated and has started to absorb the sauce.

5. Pour pasta into a bowl, incorporating the grated cheese until the sauce gains a creamy consistency. Serve immediately.

Brian Wilder is a writer for Home Ec 101. You can also find him at Things My Grandfather Taught Me.
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  1. BrianJacobiWilder on August 10, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    @HeatherSolos@Bobbie Laughman Nothing wrong with getting a little “intimate” with dinner.

  2. BrianJacobiWilder on August 10, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    @Bobbie Laughman No. just empty the contents (including the juice).

  3. HeatherSolos on August 10, 2011 at 7:27 am

    @Bobbie Laughman Great tip. A few years ago I took (I think) Bobby Flay’s advice to crush tomatoes by hand. I spent more time cleaning up that mess than I did on dinner. What a pain in the butt.

  4. Bobbie Laughman on August 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    For those who’d rather not squish the tomatoes by hand: before dumping the tomatoes into the pan, use a pair of kitchen scissors on them, right in the can.

    Brian – do you drain the tomatoes for this?

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