How to cook pasta with red sauce like a restaurant chef  

Choose Quality Ingredients: Start with high-quality ingredients. Use ripe, fresh tomatoes if you’re making the sauce from scratch, or a good quality canned tomato. San Marzano tomatoes are particularly favored for their sweet flavor and low acidity. Also, invest in a good quality olive oil and fresh herbs.

Prepare the Sauce: Saute Aromatics: Begin by heating olive oil in a pan and sauteing finely chopped onions and garlic until they are translucent and fragrant. This is the foundation of your sauce’s flavor. Add Tomatoes: Add crushed tomatoes or tomato puree to the sautéed onions and garlic. For depth, you can include a small amount of tomato paste.

Season Well: Add salt, pepper, and Italian herbs like basil and oregano. If you like a bit of heat, a pinch of red pepper flakes can make a difference. Simmer: Let the sauce simmer for at least 20-30 minutes. A slow, long simmer helps the flavors meld together beautifully.

Use Fresh Herbs: Incorporate fresh basil or parsley towards the end of cooking the sauce. Fresh herbs add a burst of freshness that dried herbs can’t match.

Cook Pasta Properly: Cook your pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. This means the pasta should be tender but still firm to the bite. Reserve some pasta water before draining.

Marry Pasta and Sauce: Instead of just pouring the sauce over the pasta, combine the two by tossing the drained pasta directly in the saucepan with some of the sauce. Add a little reserved pasta water. This starchy water not only adds flavor but also helps the sauce adhere to the pasta better.

Add a Fat: Before serving, stir in a knob of butter, a splash of cream, or a drizzle of good olive oil into the pasta and sauce mixture. This enriches the sauce and gives it a silky texture.

Cheese: Grate fresh Parmesan or Pecorino cheese over the top for a salty, umami kick. Avoid pre-grated cheeses, as fresh cheese has a superior flavor and melts better.

Serve Immediately: Pasta tastes best when served hot, directly after combining with the sauce. Plate it up and garnish with more fresh herbs or cheese as desired.

Final Touches: For a restaurant-like presentation, serve the pasta in a warm bowl. You might also drizzle a little more olive oil or add a few drops of truffle oil for an extra special touch.

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