Yield: 4 to 6 servings
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 small onion, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 cup white wine
4 cups chicken broth, plus 1 cup extra, if needed
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons dry Italian seasonings (mix of garlic powder, basil, oregano, rosemary, savory, etc.)
1 pound spaghetti, broken in half
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese or more as desired
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or local cheese with a hard and sharp profile, to garnish
1. In a large enameled cast-iron pot (at least 5 quarts) heat the olive oil over low to medium heat until hot and shimmery. Add the red pepper flakes and cook until they are toasted, 1 minute.
2. Add the onion and sprinkle with salt. Sauté, stirring often, until the onion is tender and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds.
3. Remove the pot from the heat to add the wine, then return to moderate heat and scrape the bottom to deglaze any flavorful brown bits that may have accumulated. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients.
4. Add the broth, Italian seasonings and salt and pepper to taste, then stir to mix. Bring to a boil and add the uncooked spaghetti. Stir often to prevent sticking. Keep extra broth on hand and add it if the spaghetti absorbs too much liquid.
5. Cook the pasta until 1 minute shy of al dente, tender yet firm to the bite, about 10 to 13 minutes. The pasta should be creamy with movement, not soupy. Add the butter and stir to mix.
6. Top the spaghetti evenly with the mozzarella and place the pot under a broiler set to high heat. Broil until the cheese is melted, bubbling and beginning to brown in some spots, 2 minutes or so; broilers vary, so keep a watchful eye.
7. To serve, scoop into individual bowls, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with grated cheese.
Reprinted with permission from “Simple, Elegant Pasta Dinners” by Nikki Marie