Tested and Perfected by Food and Wine
$4 Spaghetti That’s Almost as Good as $24 Spaghetti Recipe
© John Kernick

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

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 3 HRS
  • SERVINGS: 4 to 6 servings plus 4 cups of sauce
  • HEALTHY
  • STAFF-FAVORITE
  • VEGETARIAN

“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.

  1. 4 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  2. 3/4 cup peeled garlic cloves (4 ounces, from about 4 heads)
  3. 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  4. Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes with their juices
  5. Salt
  6. Freshly ground pepper
  7. 1 pound spaghetti
  8. 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  9. 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.