Spaghetti with Fresh Basil, Mint and Oregano

February 15, 2024

This is one of those dishes that represents the essence of Italian home cooking: simple and  delicious food, made with care and calling for the ingredients that mostly can be already found in the kitchen pantry. The idea for the recipe comes from one of my favourite restaurants in Rome, which I visited literally a few days ago.

Serves 4:

  • 320 g of spaghetti
  • 400 g of tomato passata
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled
  • a small piece of chilli pepper
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, torn with your fingers
  • a small handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 4-6 generous pinches of dry oregano (or fresh if available)
  • 4-5 pinches of dry marjoram (or fresh if available)
  • a pinch of sugar
  • salt
  • pecorino cheese to finish

Heat the olive oil in a medium pan, add the garlic clove and fry it gently making sure not to burn it.

Once the garlic has turned lightly golden in colour add the chilli into the pan, and after a minute the tomato passata. Season with some salt and a pinch of sugar.

Now add the herbs: oregano, marjoram and thyme. Give everything a stir and cook on a low heat with the lid on for about 15-20 minutes stirring the sauce occasionally and adjusting the quantities of the herbs to your liking. Towards the end of cooking add the fresh basil and mint. Taste and season if needed.

In the meantime bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Drop the spaghetti into the pot and cook until al dente (check the cooking time on the packaging of the pasta).

Drain the pasta keeping a small cup of the water from cooking the spaghetti on the side.

Add the spaghetti immediately into the pan with the tomato sauce and stir vigorously, pouring in some water from the cup if needed.

Take the pan off the heat and divide the contents onto four individual plates.

Finish the dish with the grated pecorino cheese and a fresh basil leaf.