A hot bowl of spaghetti is the perfect hearty meal for any student. We think sauces made from scratch are by far the tastiest kind, and believe it or not they don't take long to make at all.
So here's our step-by-step guide to supremely simple spaghetti. Bear in mind that this recipe will give you enough for two servings, so there'll be more than enough for some delicious leftovers (or a big bowl each for you and a friend).
Pans and equipment
Apparatus-wise, you just need two big saucepans, a wooden spoon, a teaspoon and a colander (and maybe a cheese-grater).
The essential ingredients
- A pack of spaghetti
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (number depends on how garlicky you like it)
- 2 teaspoons of pesto (red or green)
- 7 or 8 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 tin of tomatoes (plum or chopped are both fine, but the latter is probably easier)
- 1 red pepper, very thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 300g of ground beef or meatballs – but only if you're a keen carnivore, because a really good spaghetti sauce doesn't need meat
- 6 or 7 chopped mushrooms (a good substitute for meat)
- A splash of Tabasco sauce – to give it a little kick, if that's your thing
Cooking it up, step by step
First thing to do is chop all the above ingredients.
Then you should prepare the spaghetti, as this can be cooking while you make your sauce (doing it this way could save you quite a lot of time).
- Pour three glugs of olive oil in the pan you're going to use for spaghetti
- Half-fill it with water and put it on the hob
- Once it's visibly boiling, put the spaghetti in
Now it's time to make the sauce. Before you do anything else, open the tin of tomatoes and take the lid off the pesto. You won't need either straight away, but it's best to have them ready when you do need them.
- Pour two glugs of olive oil into your saucepan and put it on the hob
- Throw the onions in once the oil is hot (and if you're including red pepper and/or beef, put that in now too)
- Keep everything moving in order to cook it thoroughly and avoid sticking and burning
- Add the garlic and then the pesto, and give it all a good stir
- Throw in your cherry tomatoes, squash them and stir for a minute
- Pour the tin of tomatoes in and stir for two minutes
- Turn the heat right down and let your sauce simmer for about five minutes
- Check on your spaghetti in the meantime – if you like it chewy (al dente), it's probably done now; if you like it soft, maybe leave it a little longer
- Drain the spaghetti off in the colander
- A fistful of grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and black pepper (no set amount, obviously, as it depends on your preference)
- A few chopped basil leaves on top
Then it's all quite straightforward from there – just serve and savour. If you're not in a rush, you could make your sauce first and let it gently simmer while you boil your spaghetti.