28oz.San Marzano tomatoescanned or fresh or use canned whole tomatoes
4tbsp.Extra virgin olive oil
1tsp.black peppercoarsely ground fresh (optional)
1 tsp.dry oregano
1tbsp.red or white wineoptional
1cupcottage cheese or paneer optional
1cup vegetablesbroccoli, mushroom etc. optional
1 tsp.red chilli flakesoptional
It is very important to cook the pasta correctly. Use a good quality pasta brand. Then cook as per instructions on the pack.
Boil about 6 cups of water in a large pan. Add 2 tbsp. of salt. When it comes to a rolling boil, add the pasta.
Keep cooking on medium heat till pasta is al dente or is almost cooked but has a bit of bite to it. Drain it and keep aside.
Also keep a little bit of drained water which can be added to the sauce.
To make the Red Sauce or Marinara Sauce
Make the sauce while you are boiling the pasta.
Take olive oil in a pan. Add minced garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Don't let them brown.
Add crushed tomatoes and let it cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Now add your chopped veggies, if using. I add the broccoli florets first as they take longer than the chopped peppers and mushroom (optional). Cook for 2 minutes.
Now add your tofu or paneer cubes (optional). Cook for 2 minutes. Add salt and oregano. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
If you are adding wine, add it at this stage. Cook for another 2 minutes.
Now add the cooked pasta along with a few tbsp. of the boiled liquid.
Mix well. Turn off the heat. Garnish with chopped and whole basil leaves and grated cheese along with red chilli flakes (if you like heat).
Your pasta in red sauce is ready. Serve hot.
1. Adding protein and veggies makes it a one-pot meal. Or you can skip these and pair the pasta with grilled protein and a salad or sauteed veggies on the side.2. San Marzano tomatoes are the best to use, but I have used Roma tomatoes as well. They are delicious in this sauce as well as tomato paste for the concentrated taste.3. Sometimes, I add a pinch of sugar to balance out the sourness of tomatoes.4. If using leftover pasta water, remember that it is heavily salted.5. Use good quality olive oil not pomace but extra virgin olive oil. You can drizzle some on top of pasta at the end if you like it.6. Adjust heat according to your taste.7. You can do away with wine if you are cooking for the kids. I love the flavour of wine in the pasta.8. Parmesan works well as a final garnish, but you can use mozzarella as well.9. Remember that pasta will not get salted if you forget to salt the boiling water while cooking it. Also always do it al dente and never completely mushy.