Scarpetta's Spaghetti Recipe from Scott Conant and Scarpetta Restaurant.
Chef Conant likes to use 20 ripe plum tomatoes (no canned). My adaptation includes canned tomatoes as well because I find the recipe works better. Tomatoes used for canning are picked at the peak of ripeness, and many times the fresh tomatoes I find at the market are just so-so. A blend of both fresh tomatoes and quality canned tomatoes provides perfect blend of tart and sweet. Feel free to use all fresh, all canned or a combination.
Don't expect the usual sauce-heavy spaghetti. Conant's recipe is light; the barely there sauce combined with the basil-garlic oil is so full of intense flavors, you don't need to drown your pasta.
This recipe makes 1 pound dried pasta, enough to serve 6-8 people (though at Scarpetta, the serving size is half that!)
Use a sharp vegetable peeler and with a gentle, back and forth sawing motion, peel the tomato skin. Tip: the sawing motion should be very slight, just a quick back and forth motion moving along tomato.
Cut the tomatoes in half and use your finger to flick out the seeds.
In a wide pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until quite hot. Add the fresh and canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and season lightly with the salt and pepper. (I always start with a light hand with the salt and pepper because as the tomatoes reduce, the salt will become concentrated.) Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes to soften. Then, using a potato masher, chop the tomatoes finely. Cook the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened.
Taste and season with salt again. Remember, the pasta will cook in salted water, so the sauce should just be lightly seasoned. If the sauce is too tart (if your fresh tomatoes were not sweet or fully ripened), add a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the sauce.
(You can make the sauce, which yields about 2-3 cups, ahead of time. Refrigerate it for up to two days or freeze it for longer storage.)