Photo Courtesy Allison Matherly

Photo Courtesy Allison Matherly

I may have shared my history with pasta before. However, I will mention my wonderful Mother here as I think it does deserve a 2nd mention. You see when I was a young child, my Mom had to go to work since my Dad’s Multiple Sclerosis had started to limit his ability to work. So, in order to keep a roof over our head my Mom took a job at a local US Government Base as a GS4. GS4’s are very low on the totem pole, so she was working some weird hours.

These hours forced my Mom to no longer be able to prepare the family dinner any longer. So, she assigned each one of the kids a night to cook. My night was Monday. Monday’s we had Spaghetti. Yes, every Monday. Good or bad she ate it. My dear Mother was crafting my self esteem and giving fuel to me being able to help the family, and being a good Father and Husband myself for later in life.

What I found was that simple was best. Some of these Monday Pasta Dishes were in-edible – she still choked them down with a few gallons of 2% Milk. Then, I started to get my groove. I started to experiment. However, I kept the seasonings simple and added just a few ingredients and started to cook them correctly. This was the time before the internet. So, all that I had was my Mom’s Red and White Checkerboard Betty Crocker Cookbook to go from.

My cooking evolved and now, with the confidence that my first Best Friend on this earth help be build – I can cook and feed my loved ones. That my friends, is one of my most precious memories about my Mom. So, with that said… I would love to share one of my most simple recipes that is so easy, and with the fresh basil gives a pepper-sweet taste to canned tomatoes. I swear this recipe is a home-run anytime of the year.

Spaghetti al Pomodoro Fresco e Basilico


  • 1lb cooked spaghetti noddles (for serving - al dente)
  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 28 oz can plum tomatoes (coarsely chopped)
  • handful fresh basil (chopped)
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper (to taste)


Step 1
In a large saucepan over medium heat add the olive oil and bring temperature. Cook until the oil begins to shimmer. Then add the garlic and allow to cook for about 30 seconds when it becomes golden and fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes with the juices, reduce the heat to low heat so it is just simmering. Add the basil, salt & pepper to your taste. Allow this to cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 2
Add your pasta, stir to combine and serve hot with shaved Parmesan cheese.

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