Marc Forgione's Simple Tip For Elevating Spaghetti

Spaghetti is one of those dishes that can be fancy or simple, depending on what you're aiming for. Giada De Laurentiis' Lemon Spaghetti recipe may be just the dish to wow your guests for a dinner party, but after a rough day, a straightforward spaghetti with meatballs may be the way to go. But no matter how uncomplicated your spaghetti is, the effort and attention you put into the dish is what elevates it to the next level — at least according to Marc Forgione, chef and owner of the eponymous Marc Forgione in Tribeca. As a former "Iron Chef" winner as well as the youngest chef/owner in New York City to receive a Michelin star in 2010, you can bet Forgione knows what he's talking about.

"Spaghetti is a funny one because it's such a common pasta that people have their own expectations, mentally and emotionally. We use it in all sorts of different ways throughout the year," he tells Mashed. One of the keys to uplifting your spaghetti, he says, is to use fresh ingredients: "Right now we're making a fresh tomato sauce from local heirloom tomatoes and serving it as a really beautiful version of spaghetti Pomodoro."

In his quest to use the freshest and finest ingredients, Forgione has particular creators and suppliers for different meats, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables, rather than one specific distributor. For the rest of us, there are simple tweaks that can be made, like using fresh herbs or making your own pasta sauce and freezing it for later.

Homemade pasta sauce is quick and simple to make

Marc Forgione's youth spent at his grandmother's Long Island farm helped influenced his thoughts about using fresh ingredients, and he's taken that farm-to-table mentality with him into his career as an adult. "I'm on a first-name basis with most of our farmers. They stick around and they start to become like family," he told Thrillist. For those of us without quick access to farmers, there are other easy ways to make a pasta sauce that will taste much better than what you buy at the grocery store.

Many recipes you'll find, including Forgione's 10-minute pomodoro, start with a 28-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes, which is equal to six or seven fresh tomatoes. The average simple marinara recipe also includes olive oil, fresh garlic cloves, salt, and either fresh basil or dried oregano. While the ingredients are the same for both marinara and Pomodoro sauces, pomodoro is much chunkier in texture. Add red pepper flakes to either for an extra kick.

Tomato-based sauces can last in the freezer for up to three months. For ease in thawing, divide your sauce up into individual containers, but leave room for the sauce to expand. All you have to do is take it out of the freezer and reheat it on the stove or in the microwave, and you have a delicious homemade sauce for your spaghetti — without all the extra sodium or other added ingredients that you'd get from a store-bought jar.