Scarpetta’s Spaghetti With Tomato And Basil

I am a HUGE pasta girl. Many of the recipes I will share will be around some kind of pasta and I probably make pasta at least once a week. Skip the carbs? FORGET IT. CAN’T DO IT. I’m not big on denying myself yummy food so GET OVER IT, get on the treadmill and run a mile or take a brisk walk, but don’t skip the carbs. Life is short. Enjoy it and EAT!

Thankfully, my girls love pasta too so when you have the time and want to skip on the Prego, try this recipe. It’s absolutely delicious and even though it obviously takes more time, oh my- it’s worth it!

Scarpetta’s Spaghetti With Tomato And Basil

Recipe adapted from: Making Scarpetta’s Tomato-Basil Spaghetti with Scott Conant. See full recipe here.


  • 3 ounces spaghetti
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces tomato sauce (recipe follows)
  • 4 large leaves of basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter, unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ripe plum or roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 of a can San Marzano tomatoes (or Plum tomatoes from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of red chili flakes (optional)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, whole
  • 2 stems of basil, leaves on
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • Black olives (optional)
  • Note: Vary the ratio of canned to fresh tomatoes according to the season. If fresh, flavorful tomatoes are available, use all fresh; if tomatoes lack some flavor, supplement with canned.

My Substitutions & Additions: Black olives and I use the Plum canned tomatoes from Trader Joe’s


Yields 2 cups

  1. Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by placing ice in a bowl and filling with cold water. Core tomatoes with a paring knife, and discard cores. Score the bottom of each tomato with an “X.” When water has come to a boil, place tomatoes in water and leave for 15 seconds, until skin begins to split away. Transfer to ice bath. When cool, peel with paring knife.

  2. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Remove seeds with your thumb, and set seeded tomatoes aside. Reserve seeds and excess juices. If using canned tomatoes, seed in the same way. You can use both fresh and canned tomatoes.

  3. In a new pot, place 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully transfer tomatoes to the pot. Add a pinch of salt and chili flakes. If adding olives, you can add the olives at this time.

  4. Allow the tomatoes to cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften, then smash them with a potato masher. If the consistency is particularly thick, strain excess tomato juices for seeds and add to pot. Allow tomatoes to cook 30 to 45 minutes over medium heat, smashing and stirring occasionally.

  5. While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare the basil-garlic oil. Take a small saucepan and place the remaining 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil in the pan. Add garlic cloves, basil, and chili flakes. Slowly heat to allow the flavors to transfer to the oil. When the garlic is lightly browned, remove from the heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Strain the oil and combine with the tomato mixture.

  6. Remove the sauce from the heat and adjust the seasoning with additional salt, as needed.

Directions; I’ve slightly altered the recipe and directions

  1. Place a large pot of water on the stove. Season with salt, until it tastes as salty as a broth would. Bring to a boil.
  2. Cook the spaghetti in the water and remove when it is just shy of al dente—depending on the pasta, 3 minutes for fresh, 10 minutes for dried.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, place the sauce into a sauté pan and heat slowly. Allow the sauce to reduce slightly. Add the pasta to the sauté pan along with a bit of pasta water (only if needed), to add starch and seasoning.
  4. Add the pasta to the sauce, and allow to finish cooking, over medium high heat. The sauce should coat the pasta and look cohesive. When you shake the pan, the sauce and pasta should move together.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the basil, cheese, butter, and extra virgin olive oil. Toss until well incorporated.
  6. Add salt and pepper if needed and serve immediately.

The Sauce.

Spaghetti With Tomato, Basil & Olives

Pasta with the sauce on top. You can serve either way.


2 thoughts on “Scarpetta’s Spaghetti With Tomato And Basil

  1. Pingback: A Little Roy Choi and His Spaghetti! | Hip Foodie Mom

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