Spaghetti with tomato and basil
First, we make a tomato sauce, using 6-8 ripe plum tomatoes (if not in season, use canned San Marzano tomatoes, or a mixture of the two). Core each plum tomato, score the bottom with an "X", and place in boiling water for 15-30 seconds, until the skin starts to split. Allow the tomatoes to cool, then peel, cut in half, and remove the seeds.
Starting with the plum tomatoes
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pot and cook the tomatoes for about 30 minutes, flavored with salt and chili flakes, using a potato masher to break them up, smashing and stirring until reduced and smooth.
Tomatoes into sauce
Meanwhile, prepare basil-garlic oil by slowly cooking 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small pot with 6 whole garlic cloves, 2 stems of basil, and a pinch of red chili flakes. Allow this to simmer for about 25 minutes, until the garlic starts to brown, cool a few minutes, then strain out the garlic and basil and combine the remaining oil with the tomatoes. Flavor to taste with salt and pepper and the sauce is ready.
Basil-garlic olive oil
Tomato sauce and basil-garlic olive oil
Prepare the ingredients to be added to the pasta, 10 or so basil leaves, rolled and thin cut lengthwise, 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano, a tablespoon of butter, and two tablespoons of olive oil.
Boil the spaghetti until just shy of al dente, around 8 minutes for the 1/2 box we have. When ready, drain the pasta, reserving some water, and add it to the sauce, along with a bit of the reserved water. Continue cooking the pasta and sauce a few minutes (adding more pasta water if needed), until the pasta is ready and is well-mixed with the sauce, then add the basil, cheese, butter, and olive oil.
Cooking pasta, warming sauce
All together now
Plate and serve.