Spaghetti with Whole-Tomato Sauce and Artichokes

Sarah Grueneberg

Monteverde, Chicago

Tomatoes and artichokes are two staples of any Italian food lover's diet, yet both leave the home cook with a cutting board full of trimmings. Here, Beard Award–winning chef Sarah Grueneberg extracts flavor at every step: whole tomatoes are grated to build the sauce, tomato peels are simmered in olive oil to release extra flavor, and artichoke leaves and stems give a boost to the stock.


Artichokes and Stock:

  • 8 baby artichokes or 3 globe artichokes
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Spaghetti and Sauce:

  • 1 pound spaghetti or spaghettini
  • 8 large tomatoes, preferably heirloom or vine-ripened (about 5 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 pinch chile flake
  • Parmesan to finish


Prepare the artichokes and stock: trim the artichokes, start by pulling off the outermost leaves until you get down to the lighter yellow leaves. Then, using a serrated knife, cut off the top third or so of the artichoke and trim the very bottom of the stem. Use a vegetable peeler to clean the stem of the artichokes. Reserve trim and leaves.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, place artichoke trimmings, 2 cups water, olive oil, wine, salt, and lemon juice and bring to a simmer.

Add cleaned artichokes to the pot and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and let artichokes cool in the liquid.

Once cooled, quarter artichokes into bite-size pieces and reserve the artichoke stock for the spaghetti. (Enjoy the hearts as an appetizer or fold into the spaghetti.)

Make the tomato sauce: cut the tomatoes in half horizontally. Using a box grater, grate the tomatoes, cut-side-down over a large bowl. Reserve the peels.

Place tomato peels and ½ cup olive oil in a small saucepot over medium heat. Sweat peels in oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and add 4 to 5 basil leaves. Transfer peels and oil to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend on high until smooth and emulsified, about 1 minute. Whisk sauce into the bowl with the grated tomatoes.

In a large saucepan, heat 3/4 cup olive oil over medium–high heat. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add chile flakes and tomato mixture. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Turn off heat and reserve until ready to cook the pasta. The sauce should look thick with olive oil around the edges.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with about 3 tablespoons of kosher salt. Add spaghetti to the boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Drain the pasta into a colander, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. The pasta will seem firm and undercooked.

Stir pasta into tomato sauce, add 1 cup of artichoke stock, and simmer slowly over low heat for 8 minutes. Add the remaining basil and artichoke hearts (if using), lower heat, and let simmer for 5 more minutes. Gradually add remaining pasta water, if needed.

Taste pasta to test doneness. It should be al dente. Finish with freshly grated cheese, basil, and a drizzle of oil.


From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.


6-8 servings