Spaghetti with a Spicy Tomato Sauce

By AM Northwest Staff

Serves 8


  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 or 3 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles, to taste, stems removed
  • 1 medium-size red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Paste
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Paste
  • 2 tsp ground Deggi chiles or 1 tsp cayenne pepper mixed with 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri garam masala
  • 4 cups finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and chiles, and cook until the chiles blacken and the seeds turn reddish brown and smell nutty, 10 to 15 seconds. Immediately throw in the onion, and stir-fry until it is light brown aruond the edges, 5 to 8 minutes.

2. Add the tomato paste, ginger and garlic pastes, ground chiles, sugar, salt and garam masala. Simmer the thick paste over medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until a thin film of paste starts to coat the bottom of the pan and there is an oily sheen on the surface, 2 to 4 minutes.

3. Pour in 2 cups water, and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze it, releasing the coating of paste. Heat the curry to a boil and continue to simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it starts to thicken slightly, 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro. Cook, uncovered, stirring occaisionally, until the tomatoes are warmed through, 3 to 5 minutes. Keep the sauce warm, covered, over very low heat.

5. Fill a large saucepan or stockpot with water and bring it to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook until it is tender but firm to the bite (al dente), following the package instructions.

6. Drain the spaghetti and immediately toss it with the sauce. (The bit of water that clings to the pasta is perfect, as it will provide enough moisture to allow the sauce to adhere to the pasta.)

7. Sprinkle with cheese, and serve.

From 660 Curries, by Raghavan Iyer


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