One might even say that it is the ultimate labor of love. A meal is the epitome of warmth, happiness, nourishment, and contentedness. It tastes delicious, it makes you feel happy, and if someone's making you a meal, they probably like you enough to want to spend time eating it with you too.
If you're interested in showing someone a little love - your girlfriend, your roommate, or possibly your mom who's expecting Stouffer's lasagna out of the freezer when she comes to visit your crappy apartment - make her this. It's easy, it's cheap, and it is oh so good.
I know exactly what you're thinking - this is spaghetti with red sauce. Not special, not exciting, possibly even kind of boring. The process is what makes this dish worthy of a pretentious Italian name. Cook the pasta until it is just underdone, put it in the pan with the red sauce, and then continue cooking the pasta in the sauce until it is done.
The key here is good ingredients. There aren't that many to begin with, so make them count. When you buy your pureed canned tomatoes, San Marzanos can't be beat. Buy the prettiest fresh basil you can find. Pay the extra $2 for really good Parmesan.
Pasta al Pomodoro
tweaked from Bon Apetit
Yields: 6 servings
Total Time: 45 minutes, prep to plate