I'm back after a long lazy silence... I've been cooking but not taking pictures, it seemed just wrong to post without pictures! Anyways, I was inspired to try making this recipe $4 Spaghetti that's almost as good as $24 Spaghetti, from the Food & Wine website which caught my eye with its brilliant claim. Fortunately I had all of the ingredients at hand. It's full of flavor and made quite a lot for leftovers or to freeze and was so good that I wanted to share it with you.
The recipe is by Roy Choi of L.A.’s Kogi empire (read more about him here) who loves the $24 spaghetti from Scott Conant’s Scarpetta in NYC but says, “my $4 version tastes almost as good.” His trick: flavoring tomato sauce with a quick mushroom broth and slow-cooked garlic.
4 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced ( I had 2 cups of old and tired crimini)
3/4 cup peeled garlic cloves (4 ounces, from about 4 heads)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1/2 cup)
Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes with their juices
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
I finally used the pasta from Flour + Water that I bought at the Salumeria next door to Central Kitchen. It made a very fine plate of pasta with the Kogi sauce.