Spaghetti with Fresh-Tomato Sauce and Serrano Peppers


This fiery pasta recipe from chef Alain Allegretti gets its heat from the serrano pepper, a small chile that is about twice as hot as a jalapeno.


For the Tomato Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • cup finely chopped onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, julienned

  • ½ cup tomato paste

  • 3 cups quartered beefsteak tomatoes

  • ½ cup peeled and quartered plum tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence

  • 1 bunch fresh thyme

  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 bunch fresh basil

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

For the Tomato Confit

  • 20 cherry tomatoes

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

For Serving

  • 1 ⅓ pounds spaghetti

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 ½ teaspoons sea salt

  • 2 teaspoons minced serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon fleur de sel

  • 2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh basil


  1. Make the tomato sauce: Heat olive oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and chile; cook, stirring, until soft and translucent. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add beefsteak and plum tomatoes to Dutch oven. Wrap thyme, parsley, basil, and herbs de Provence in a piece of cheesecloth, using kitchen twine to enclose. Add to saucepan and season with salt. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 3 hours. Remove cheesecloth packet and discard. Using an immersion or standard blender, blend sauce until smooth. Strain sauce through a fine mesh strainer and return to Dutch oven; set aside.

  3. Make the confit: Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Fit a rimmed baking sheet with a rack and set aside.

  4. Place cherry tomatoes in a large bowl and add garlic, thyme, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Evenly spread tomatoes on prepared baking sheet and transfer to oven; bake for 3 hours.

  5. To serve: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add sea salt and return to a boil. Add pasta and cook, according to package directions, until al dente; drain.

  6. Meanwhile, place tomato sauce over medium heat and add chile, cheese, and tomato confit; season with cracked black pepper and fleur de sel. Stir to combine. Stir in pasta to coat with sauce and evenly divide between 4 serving plates. Top with basil and serve immediately.

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