Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Spaghetti alla Boscaiola (Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Mushrooms)

Sometimes a simple meal is best. This basic, no-nonsense dish is the kind that can be whipped up in 20 minutes and, I believe, is best eaten on the couch with a mindless television program. The sauce uses mostly pantry staples, and yet somehow manages to feel genuinely comforting. It also comes from one of my most-used cookbooks, the completely stained but still standing The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces by Diane Seed. It takes simplicity to whole new heights.

The key to this dish's success is to treat the mushrooms with a tad bit more care than usual. Only cook them until they are tender and just ready to burst. If they release too much water, they'll be dry. Cook the mushrooms separately from the tomato sauce and only add them at the very last second. They'll be plump and juicy, and add the perfect pop to the tomato sauce. With a drizzle of fine olive oil and a sprinkling of salt, this humble dish starts tasting a whole lot better than a pantry meal.

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