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How To Make The Ultimate Spaghetti With Red Sauce

Because canned tomatoes are always in season.

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But have you made *THIS* sauce?

It's got a very special secret ingredient that will improve the quality of your life/pasta.


First, let's talk about anchovies. (SPOILER ALERT: The secret ingredient.) They're in this sauce to give a deep, complex flavor. And I know what you're thinking: No, your tomato sauce won't taste like fish.

Lauren Zaser / Via BuzzFeed

High-quality anchovies are also much milder than the cheap ones, so whip out that extra $2 and spring for the nice tin or bottle.

You can find good anchovies at most grocery stores and of course, specialty food stores.


6. They should look pretty pureed, with a few pieces floating around in them.

Lauren Zaser / Via BuzzFeed

You could buy crushed tomatoes, but I love the slightly chunkier texture that comes with crushing your own.


11. Cook the tomato paste, stirring ~constantly~ for a few minutes until it's bright brick red. The sugars will start to caramelize, which will give your sauce a deep, intense, amazing flavor.


14. Fill one of your empty tomato cans with water and add that to your sauce. Then use that can to hold your spoon, so you don't get sauce *everywhere*.

Adding water gives your sauce a chance to cook for a long time, developing flavor, letting everything mingle and get to know each other in that pot. It also keeps it a sauce consistency, rather than turning into a thick ol' paste.


You made sauce! You can freeze or refrigerate this if you're making it ahead, OR proceed with the pasta now. Either way, it freezes great and you should probably have some of this in your freezer at all times.


Spaghetti With Anchovy Sauce

By Alison Roman

Serves 8

2 (28 oz.) cans whole San Marzano tomatoes

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

8 cloves garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt and pepper

1 (2–3-oz.) tin or jar of anchovies (size varies)

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

½ cup tomato paste

½ cup dry red wine

1 lb. spaghetti, or whatever pasta you like

A hunk of Parmesan, for grating

Put the tomatoes into a deep, large bowl (or a pot, that works too). Using your hands, crush the tomatoes. Like, I mean really crush the shit out of them. You could even put them into a blender or food process, but I personally really enjoy this process. There should be no large pieces remaining, just a coarse tomato puree.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium or large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is totally softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. This should happen slowly, it's called *sweating* the onion. It allows it to cook through and become super soft without caramelizing.

Add all the anchovies and whatever oil they are packed in. Don't worry about chopping them or anything, they'll literally just dissolve in the oil (so awesome, right?).

Cook these, stirring occasionally, until they've disappeared into the oil, about 2 minutes.

Add the crushed red pepper flakes and give everything a stir, just to kind of toast the pepper flakes.

Add the tomato paste and cook until it turns a dark brick red color, about 4 minutes (this is caramelizing the sugars in the tomato, which will give you really great flavor and take the edge off that raw tomatoey taste).

Add the wine and cook this about a minute, just to burn off that alcohol.

Add the tomatoes, juices and all and stir everything together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to get all those good bits. Fill one of your empty tomato cans with water and add that to your sauce.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the sauce for 1 ½–2 hours. You want a very low simmer: There should just be a few bubbles here and there. You want to cook this sauce really low and slow. If medium-low is too hot (every stove is different), turn the heat down to low. Stir this every 30 minutes or so, but for the most part you can kind of ignore it. Now ladle out about 2 cups of sauce: This is what is known as your "extra sauce." You'll serve it alongside the pasta or freeze it for later.

To serve, cook the spaghetti (or whatever pasta you like) in a large pot of a salted boiling water. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Serve it right out of the pot, or transfer to a serving bowl. Either way, make sure people grate lots of Parmesan on it when they are serving themselves. Serve with the extra sauce alongside.