Classic spaghetti

Classic spaghetti

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(10 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins


Serves 4
Whether you are a novice cook or simply want to improve your skills, follow our step-by-step recipe for a delicious pasta dish that works every time

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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  • 1 medium onion



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 20g pack basil leaves, chopped
  • 400g dried spaghetti (roughly three quarters of a 500g pack)
  • 1x 150g ball mozzarella


  1. Using a sharp knife, peel the onion, slice in half through the root and trim off the top. Place the onion, cut-side down, on a chopping board. With your knife parallel to the board, cut 3 slices through the onion, keeping the root intact. With knife point at root end, cut down through the onion, from top to bottom 4 times. Holding the root end, finely slice across the onion (see pic above), to give you small diced pieces.

  2. Set a large frying pan over medium heat and when hot, tip in the oil then onion. Cook for 5 mins until starting to soften, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, cook 2 mins more until the onions start to turn golden. When the onion has softened, tip in the tomatoes and half the basil. Leave to gently bubble for 15 mins until the sauce has thickened and looks pulpy. Stir occasionally and break up any large clumps of tomato with the back of your spoon.

  3. Pour water ¾ of the way up your largest pan. Heat over a high heat and add plenty of salt. When water has reached a rolling boil, place the spaghetti into the pan. As it softens, use your hands to push all of it into the water. Give it a stir to separate the pasta, then cook according to pack instructions, about 10 mins. Taste a strand of pasta. It should be just soft, but not mushy. Scoop out a cup of water before draining in a colander (this will help to loosen your sauce).

  4. Finishing touches: Tip the drained pasta back into its cooking pan, then pour over the tomato sauce. Give everything a good stir. The sauce should just coat the pasta, if it is thick and looks dry, stir in a few spoons of the pasta water. If it is watery, cook over a low heat until evaporated, stirring often. Use your hands to break the mozzarella into chunky pieces and stir through the pasta along with the remaining basil leaves. Serve straight away.

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Comments, questions and tips

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11th Feb, 2013
Quick and easy to make and can add any extra veg you like
13th Jan, 2013
Nice easy dish to make.
12th Sep, 2012
Absolutely disgusting - really dissapointed!!!! Tastleless despite adding a lot of extra seasoning.
29th Mar, 2012
The flavors are mild, there's no spice or heat in the dish, but it's still tasty because of all the pure flavors. My boyfriend liked it as well and told me "You've become quite a good chef lately".. Easy and quick recipe as well!
14th Feb, 2011
great recipe! Easy, quick and tastes great. I tried it with chicken too and it really added to the flavours.
25th Aug, 2009
i love it excellento!! LOL
23rd Jan, 2008
I've made this lots of times. Recently I've included pan fried chicken and italian herbs to it which seems to go down very well!!
10th Jan, 2008
quick and easy. I've made it loads of times now. Tastes fab!
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