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Recipe: Nordstrom Angel Hair Pasta With Tomato Sauce

February 28, 2023 12:44 IST
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Pasta can be a wonderful comfort food, especially basic recipes, like macaroni and cheese, macaroni and egg, or with a quick, tasty tomato sauce, quickly whipped up fresh.

My Nordstrom Angel Hair Pasta With Tomato Sauce is the recipe for a pasta served once upon a time at the cafe at the American department store, Nordstrom, which my daughters loved when they were small and were visiting their grandparents in Baltimore and we went on shopping expeditions.

It's no longer served there, but I still make it for my family. A roughly-made passata (tomato sauce) is slopped over pasta and the waiter would come with his giant grater and top the dish with shavings of fresh Parmesan. Delicious.

It calls for the fine capellini or angel hair pasta which is available online. But spaghetti or linguine works just fine too.

Fresh basil is a must.

Nordstrom Angel Hair With Tomato Sauce

Photograph: Kshamaya Daniel

Nordstrom Angel Hair Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Serves: 2


  • 300 gm angel hair pasta or capellini or spaghetti
  • 1½ tbsp butter
  • 8 ripe medium tomatoes
  • 1 cup pasta water, reserved after cooking the capellini
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 10 pods garlic, crushed or minced
  • 4 stalks spring onions
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste, about 1½ tsp
  • 1 tsp freshly crushed black peppercorns
  • Dash sugar
  • ¼ cup grated or shavings cheese, preferably fresh Parmesan


  • Bring 4 cups water to boil in a large saucepan over high heat.
    Keep a strainer or colander ready in the sink to drain the capellini.
    Add the angel hair spaghetti and cook for 1-2 minutes only over high heat till al dente -- not too soft.
    Al dente means 'to the tooth' or pasta that has a bite to it.
    Packets of pasta usually have their cooking time listed on them.
    To make a pasta al dente, subtract 1 minute or 1½ minutes from the cooking time.
    Drain, but first reserve 1 cup pasta water in another saucepan and keep aside.
    Return the drained pasta to its saucepan and add the butter and toss.
    Keep aside.
  • Bring 5 cups water to boil in a large saucepan and add the tomatoes and allow them to blanch for a few minutes so the skin loosens.
    Drain the water.
    Cool a little.
    Core the tomatoes and remove the skin and crudely mash so it’s a rough, lumpy paste/sauce and keep aside.
  • Chop the greens and the white bulbs of the spring onions separately and keep aside.
  • In a large frying pan, saute the crushed garlic in the olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
    Add the chopped whites of the spring onions and fry for 1-2 minutes more and add the mashed tomatoes and the reserved pasta water.
    Bring to a bubbling boil over medium heat for 5-6 minutes till the sauce is thickish and season with the pepper, salt, sugar and the greens of the spring onion.
    Take off heat and add the fresh basil.
  • Plate the pasta and pour the sauce on top, dividing it between the two plates and garnish with the cheese and serve hot.

Zelda's Note: Tomato sauce pastas served in many a restaurant have too much red chilly which takes away from the flavour of the sauce. But if you can't do without your chilly, add 2 pinches or 1 tsp Tabasco, not more.

While other cheeses will work, try and procure authentic Parmesan for this recipe.

While making the sauce you could add 1 cup of chopped mixed vegetables like red capsicum, green capsicum, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini or non-vegetarians may prefer to add a handful of de-veined, peeled and tailed prawns.

Skip the garlic for a Jain version of this pasta and use vegan cheese to have veganised pasta with tomato sauce or skip the cheese altogether.

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