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Lazy Person's Semolina No. 5 in Red Sauce Minor

Lazy Person's Semolina No. 5 In Red Sauce Minor
Story/recipe and photos by Tom Weber

large pasta pot with built-in colander

I guess I'm not as LAZY as I thought. Don't get me wrong; I'm still LAZY, just not as much as before.

I could've made quick work of the following recipe by simply opening up a jar of "It's in there!" Instead, for no apparent reason, I opted to take a much longer route to create the following simple and spicy first-course dish.

Maybe I had an epiphany while looking in the fridge to see what I could whip up next, if one can actually have an epiphany while peering into an ice-a-box. Or, maybe I was just pleased with the way the previous Lazy Person recipes turned out that I subconsciously told myself, "You can do this." Ergo, not as LAZY as before.

Well, whatever the reason, the final result plated on the dish was pretty good and, I think, worthy of sharing with my sorta, kinda clueless-in-the-kitchen-somewhat-lazy mates.

So, this time around, I'd like to take you through all the steps involved in preparing the Lazy Person's Semolina No. 5 in Red Sauce Minor - Dah-Dah-Dah-Daaaaaaaaah - or LPS5RSM for short.

portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven (1819) by Joseph Karl Stieler
Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven (1819) by Joseph Karl Stieler - Beethoven Haus, Bonn, Germany - This photographic reproduction is in the Public Domain.

With apologies to Ludwig van Beethoven, the LPS5RSM is a symphony of sorts, as we blend overlapping flavors from olive oil, peeled pomodorini (cherry tomatoes), garlic and spicy red pepper - like the short-short-short-long motif of one of LvB's most often played compositions, Symphony No.5 in C Minor - into a culinary opus, the sauce. And the baton of the maestro (conductor), who will lead the ingredients, is one narrow box of Semolina (Durum wheat flour) spaghetti, size no. 5.

Before we head into the kitchen, you might like to know that the Italian word spaghetti translates as "little strings." How appropriate for our quasi, classical music-themed LPS5RSM recipe.

Now, if you'll give me a second to slip into my white tie and tails, we'll get this symphony underway. I just hope I'm not wearing some of the red sauce at the end.


Lazy Person's Semolina No. 5 In Red Sauce Minor


  • 3-3.5 oz (90-100g) dried Semolina spaghetti No. 5
  • 10-12 Peeled and sliced Datterino pomodorini (Datterino type cherry tomatoes)
  • 8 baked black olives cut into small pieces
  • 2.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or enough to coat a large skillet)
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried peperoncino (red pepper flakes or powder)
  • 2 cloves of quartered garlic (0r 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder)
  • 2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 1 tall pot of salted boiling water

Prep and Cooking time: 15-20 min.


Step-1: Fill the large pot with water, cover, set the burner to HIGH and begin the boiling process…

left: large pasta pot with built-in colander; right: pasta pot and skillet on the cooktop

Step-2: Rinse, clean and score the cherry tomatoes. Place in a small pot of boiling water between 30-sec. and 1-min. then remove.

top: cherry tomatoes on a dish and potted on a stove; bottom: cherry tomatoes splitting in boiling water

Step-3: Place the hot cherry tomatoes in a hand-held medium strainer, rinse lightly with cold water to cool down.

split cherry tomatoes in a hand-held strainer

Step-4: Begin hand-peeling the cherry tomatoes, placing the skinless pulp on a cutting board. Roughly chop all the peeled tomatoes…

peeled cherry tomatoes on a cutting board

Step-5: Cut the black olives into small pieces, ensuring you remove the pits in the process…

baked black olives

Step-6: Peel and quarter the cloves of garlic (If you use garlic powder, then Step-8a)...

whole garlic

Step-7: Pour the olive oil into the skillet rotating it around until the pan is completely coated. Set the burner on MEDIUM heat and warm the oil for 1-min. DO NOT BURN THE OIL

left: a bottle of virgin olive oil from Lazio, Italy; right: virgin olive oil on a skillet

Step-8: When the olive oil heats up, introduce the quartered garlic pieces and stir. Once the garlic starts to brown, turn off burner and remove garlic pieces from the skillet

– or –

Step-8a: If you're using garlic powder instead of the cloves, like I did (remember, I'm kinda LAZY) sprinkle it over the warm oil and stir it around for about 1-min., then turn off the burner.

skillet with virgin olive oil and garlic powder

Step-9: Add to the oil the dried crushed or powdered red pepper; stir briefly, then set the skillet aside…

peperoncino and skillet with olive oil and garlic-red pepper powders

Step-10: The large pot of water is now boiling. Remove the lid and add the sea salt. Weigh the pasta to ensure the correct amount…

Step-11: Drop the spaghetti into the water. Push the strands down with tongs until they are all submerged. Stir around during the first minute to ensure the "little strings" do not stick together. Set timer for 7-min. and let the pasta cook…

spaghetti dropped into large pasta pot

Note: Cooking time for no. 5 spaghetti is 8-min., but we're subtracting 1-min. and will use that minute to quickly sauté the pasta in the red sauce (see Step-14).

Step-12: While the spaghetti is cooking, return the skillet to the burner and place on MEDIUM heat. Fold in the cherry tomato pulp, the black olive pieces, and 2 tablespoons of the salty pasta water from the pot and stir for 2-min. Turn the burner down to LOW heat and wait for the spaghetti to finish cooking in the boiling water…

left: peeled and chopped tomatoes placed in the skillet; right: pomodorini and olives are merged

Step-13: RING! The timer hits the 7-min. mark. Turn off the burner. Drain the spaghetti in a colander and shake off the excess water.

left: kitchen timer; right: pasta pot on stove

Step-14: Throw down the cooked spaghetti into the skillet, where the sauce has remained warm, and raise the burner to MEDIUM-to-HIGH heat and sauté quickly for about 30-45 sec., or until all the "little strings" are bathed in red.

left: cooked spaghetti darined and placed in skillet; right: sauteing spaghetti in skillet

Step-15: Turn off the burner. Plate the LPS5RSM with kitchen tongs. Serve.

plated Lazy Person's Semolina No. 5 in Red Sauce Minor

Recommended Wine Pairing: Fontamara's Trebbiano D'Abruzzo DOC Quercianera. This is a straw-like pale yellow from the heart of the Valle del Sangro in the Abruzzo region of Southeast Italy. Under the nose, you'll take in a floral bouquet accented with hints of ripe yellow fruit. This well-structured, dry 100% Trebbiano grape is nicely balanced, fruity and persistent.

left: glass and bottle of Fontamara's Trebbiano D'Abruzzo DOC Quercianera; right: spaghetti plated and served with paired wine


Well, I'll be darn. I didn't get a spot of red sauce on my white tie and tails.

I hope you enjoyed the Semolina No. 4 in Red Sauce Minor. Do let me know how you faired in "conducting" your own version of it. In the meantime, I've gotta dash over to the tuxedo rental shop before it closes and return this monkey suit.


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Hi Audrey,

Love your lamb shanks.

--- Paul, Scottsdale AZ

Haven't been called Tad for . . .gee, maybe I've NEVER been called Tad . . . guess I'm the only one with chutzpah enough to mention Bourdain. BRILLIANT?

--- Ken, Shutesbury, MA

I think we must have had an entirely different experience in the UK. (Fresh Food and Real Ale – week 1). We were up in Edinburgh and they served something called ‘Neeps & Tatties.’ The items were boiled so long that I couldn’t even recognize what I was eating. Come to think of it… I couldn’t taste them either. Later I found that Neeps’ are Turnips and ‘Tatties’ are potatoes.

--- Lindy, Phoenix, AZ

My mouth was watering as I read some of your descriptions of the fantastic fare of ... England? I had always felt smug about the lowly reputation of British cuisine as this gave us at least one country with a worse culinary reputation than America's. I guess I'll have to change my views. Your article made me actually want to take a CULINARY tour of Britain. Yummy yummy yummy.

--- Sandy Miner, Portland, OR

Thanks for your note. Thanks to Traveling Boy I get to interview a world famous chef this week who is widely recognized as spearheading the Yummy movement in Ireland. Guess I'll have to take yet another culinary tour a little further north and check it out... (I love my job!) --- Audrey

Very interesting, mouth-watering piece by Audrey! (A McDreamy McMeel). Your web site is fascinating!

--- Susie, Victoria, BC

Combining travel, food, and intelligent advice -- BRILLIANT! Your site fills a long-felt need for hungry roamers. Keep it up! It's Anthony Bourdain with reservations and CLASS.

--- Tad, Boston, MA

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