Every home needs a good tomato spaghetti recipe.

When I was younger, I LOVED when my dad made spaghetti bolognese, though every now and then he’d make a super watery one (likely with fresh tomatoes) and I wondered why his game was off. Finally, when I was about 10 or 11, I asked him how he made the sauce, and he said, “Prego.” (I often saw Ragu in our cupboard as well). I realized that it was never my dad that made the great pasta, it was a store-bought sauce.

I started to make my own spaghetti in University using my dad’s (ie. Betty Crocker’s) recipe. I made so many servings the very first time, that I vowed never to make it again because at the time I couldn’t figure out how to cut down a recipe to make one or a few servings. So I stopped making spaghetti and instead ventured into cream and pesto sauces and short pasta.

Not long ago I thought I really needed to redeem my memory of dad’s tomato spaghetti and found this recipe using red wine. Man, it tastes (and feels) like restaurant quality, and you can easily swap out certain ingredients or pasta depending on your taste. I find this dish so filling (especially if you add vegan cheez) that it doesn’t even require a veggie ground. Prego be gone!

Even though this contains wine, the alcohol gets reduced so I’d still feel good serving it to kids. Impress them with your skillz, yo!

Ingredients:

375g package spaghetti (or other pasta of your choice)
2.5 tbsp olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
Salt & black pepper, to taste
5 garlic cloves, minced
10 mushrooms, chopped (I use crimini)
3/4 c red wine
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 diced tomato
5 tbsp tomato paste
Red pepper flakes, to taste
3 handfuls spinach
Cane sugar, to taste
Chopped fresh parsley
Fresh basil
Vegan cheez (optional)

Cook pasta al dente*, drain and set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat and add onion with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Stir frequently and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for one minute more. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the wine (beware of flames). Stir until the wine has reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes. Add the diced and crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and a pinch each of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasonings, including cane sugar. Add the spinach in the final minute to wilt. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve with fresh parsley, basil, and vegan cheez, if desired. Serves 6.

Tips:

  • I use about 1/2 tsp sugar and add a total of 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes.
  • Typically you can swap dried herbs for the fresh, but the fresh basil is a MUST for that authentic pasta flavour.

Bon appetito!

 

*2 minutes before fully cooked.

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