OK, yes, it’s cooked by an “award-winning chef” on the show — but it couldn’t be easier to prepare in real life.
If like me you binged recently The bear on Hulu so damn fast your head’s still spinning, I’m willing to bet you’re one of three things: exhausted (episode 7, am I right?!), fulfilled as hell, or hungry. For me, it’s definitely the last – or, to be honest, a little bit of all three – and I can’t imagine myself being alone.
Over the course of eight fast-paced episodes, Chef Carmy (played by shameless‘s Jeremy Allen White) and his kitchen team conjure up food that I would easily place in the “would die to eat” category. Of course, there are the plentiful Italian beef sandwiches, dripping with savory just, and then there’s Sydney’s Coke Braised Short Ribs, which literally live rent-free in my brain. Heck, I’d even devour a plate of these herb-infused mashed potatoes from Tina!
Some context is needed here, but again, no real spoilers. Let’s just say the dish itself becomes one of the main plot points of the season. (If you know, you know.) When Carmy starts running his late brother’s restaurant, he flatly refuses to serve his “underseasoned, over-sauced mess” of a spaghetti dish — even though it was apparently a hit.
Eight episodes later, Carmy “stumbles” over his brother’s written recipe the spaghetti and decides to cook and serve it for his employees’ family dinner – albeit with some liberties. (To be clear, when I say “recipe,” I basically just mean a three-ingredient list.)
I figured, If this pasta is tasty enough to make someone see dead people, it has to be next level. So, yeah, I decided to recreate it at home… and I’m very, very I’m glad I did. Now that I’ve tried it, I can say with confidence that it’s my new marinara sauce.
To develop a recipe that consisted of more than just three ingredients [lovingly] Scribbled on an index card, I basically watched the scene where he does it a dozen and five times. While some elements are filmed, most of the spaghetti preparation actually happens off-camera – so I donned my recipe developer hat to fill in the many, many blanks.
Here’s what I came up with. First the ingredients.
The canned San Marzano tomatoes themselves are pretty darn ~key~ to that, too The bear‘s plot – IYKYK again – but if you can’t find them or don’t want to splurge on the imported stuff, use whatever canned tomatoes you can find. The results will be just as delicious.
STEP #1: Make your basil and garlic infused oil.
You want your basil and garlic oil to look like this before you remove it from the heat.
STEP #2: Brown your butter and sauté the onion.
(How golden brown? This golden brown.)
STEP #3: Start your tomato sauce.
STEP #4: Puree the basil oil.
In terms of texture, you want the mix to look something like this after processing.
STEP #5: Final step, everyone! Combine the basil oil mixture with the sauce for the last 10 minutes of cooking time.
To serve, add 1 pound of al dente spaghetti to the pot and coat thoroughly with the sauce. As with most pasta dishes I would maximum recommend saving 1/2 cup of pasta water for the sauce — it helps distribute the sauce more evenly, and the starch ultimately makes the sauce thicker.
A generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a few spare basil leaves really kicks things up a notch, IMO, but don’t stress out if you don’t have them.
It’s good. REALLY, really good. Like “new favorite pasta” well. I now understand the big smiles from everyone in Carmy’s kitchen as they devoured this dish…because that was very me when I took my first bite.
If you get a chance to try this recipe for yourself, let me know what you think in the comments below! ⬇️