4.5 8

$4 Spaghetti That’s Almost as Good as $24 Spaghetti

"The $24 spaghetti from Scott Conant's Scarpetta in NYC is so delicious," says Roy Choi of L.A.'s Kogi empire. "My $4 version tastes almost as good." Roy's trick: flavoring tomato sauce with a quick mushroom broth and slow-cooked garlic.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings plus 4 cups of sauce

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  • 4 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup peeled garlic cloves (4 ounces, from about 4 heads)
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes with their juices
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving


  1. In a saucepan, bring the mushrooms and 3 cups of water to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the broth is reduced to 1 cup, 1 hour. Strain and discard the mushrooms.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the garlic and olive oil to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until the garlic is very tender and golden, about 30 minutes.
  3. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, bring the tomatoes and the garlic and oil to a boil. Add the mushroom broth and, using an immersion blender, puree the sauce until smooth. Bring the sauce back to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat until thickened, about 1 hour. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain the spaghetti and return to the pot. Add 2 cups of the sauce and cook, tossing, for 1 minute. Transfer the spaghetti to bowls, top with the basil and serve with grated cheese.

Make Ahead

The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Suggested Pairing

Fruit-forward, medium-bodied Italian red.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published August 2012

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