Who doesn’t love spaghetti? And, if you have ever had the REAL THING you know there is a difference between real Italian pasta marinara and that premade “stuff” in a jar you get off the shelf at the grocery store. Making exceptional “spaghetti” really is pretty simple and SOOO worth not taking any shortcuts even if you want a quick meal. It starts with quality ingredients, and the star of the show is the TOMATO! Don’t kid yourself into thinking “all tomatoes taste the same”. If you follow these steps and give this a try, I am confident you will be a believer! It starts with the tomato. And the first thing you need to have in your hands is arguably the best tomato for sauces on the planet! This is the Italian SAN MARZANO tomato. There are many labels under which you can buy San Marzano tomatoes. But beware there is a lot of hub-bub about authenticity, and the need for Product Designation of Origin (DOP) stamp by the EU that are given to genuine San Marzano tomatoes grown in a specific region of Italy (Pomodoro S. Marzano Dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino) in the volcanic soil under Mount Vesuvius. In my opinion any brand of San Marzano is good enough, but just don’t be fooled by labels that say “San Marzano STYLE”. Better yet, if you can GROW them yourself, or get them fresh at a farmers market. (I have a few plants growing this year! Yeay!) What I use that I like is the Carmelina brand. I get them by the case now on Amazon. But I have also seen them- and the Cento brand San Marzano’s at Wal-Mart. If I am making pasta or pizza sauce… this is it! I prefer the tomatoes whole, not chopped, sliced or processed in any other way. I start with softening some medium chopped onions with some garlic in olive oil in a pot over medium heat. I add a dash of salt here only. Once the onions are translucent they are ready, but don’t let them and the garlic brown. The can is opened and dumped in the pot with the onions and garlic uncovered, to simmer on medium stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula occasionally. You will be REALLY tempted to want to break up the whole tomatoes, but don’t do it! Let the heat and simmering do the work of breaking them down. I will add one whole sprig of FRESH Basil to the tomatoes while they simmer and break down. This should take 35-45 minutes at the most and depending on you heat level. If you have tomato sauce bubbles popping and splattering out of the pot and making a mess, you are too hot. It should look something like this simmering. This is just one 28 OZ. can for just my wife and I, but I sometimes will make more for leftovers to take for lunch. The last ingredient is a little bit of good hard cheese like Parmesan or Asiago. This is one of my new favorites. I grated less than ¼ cup directly into the sauce. The sauce should be OFF the heat when you add the cheese at the end, but enough residual heat for it to melt and incorporate into the sauce. There is no need for additional salt, sugar, or any other ingredients or spices. I just rolled up some homemade Italian Sausage (link here) into golf ball sizes. I then just sprinkled a pinch of Italian Seasoning on each one. I put them in my MES smoker with a handful of cherry chips at 275’ for about an hour to get a little smoke on them. Then they went under the broiler for a few minutes to finish and get some color. The noodles for this one are Barilla boxed angel hair. I do have a pasta press that I love to use, but I wasn’t in the mood to get that all out this time. Perhaps making fresh pasta will be for another thread. Boil in plenty of water with a little salt (to season) and a splash of oil (to prevent noodles from sticking). Drain. DO NOT RINSE your noodles! Some folks will toss their noodles with a little bit of olive oil or butter. I do this for certain noodle dishes, but the idea here is to leave them a dry, and you want the noodles to soak up some of the liquid in your sauce for that perfect texture and pure unadulterated tomato taste. Here we have the plated pasta marinara family style. And here with the meatballs, some more grated Asiago cheese and dusted with some fresh parsley (Actually, more fresh Basil chiffonade is better!). Enjoy! Perfecto!