Serving Up Life’s Pastabilities

The Pasta

Apron Anxiety’s Pasta

  • Prep Time 10 minutes
  • Total Time 20-30 minutes
  • Yield Serves 6

In the part memoir, part cookbook Apron Anxiety, Alyssa Shelasky shares her most intimate relationship woes and how her life changed when she decided she was ready to conquer her phobia of all things food. Her personal anecdotes, combined with treasured recipes from her mother’s pasta to her supernatural breakup brownies, allow the reader to get a glimpse of Shelasky’s discovery of her love of cooking and ultimately herself.

When I was growing up, my mother made this meal at least once a week and I never got tired of it. This simple dish is fresh, healthy, and very much like her. It is my happy childhood incarnate. We always ate pasta al dente, but that’s only because we insatiable teenagers were too impatient to wait. Add a salad or crusty bread for a lovely meal. 


  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for salting pasta water
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced or sliced
  • 1 pound spaghetti, or bucatini if you’re being fancy
  • ½ to 1 cup (or less if you’d like) freshly grated mozzarella or Romano cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Place a large pot filled with water over high heat. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Add the garlic and cook until tender. Stir in the basil and salt. Toss in the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes, or until they soften.

Throw a generous pinch of salt into the boiling water. Add the pasta, stir, and cook according to the package instructions. Taste a piece of pasta toward the end of the cooking. When it’s done, drain it and return it to the pot. Add the grated mozzarella and the tomato mixture to the pot. Stir gently for about 3 minutes, until the cheese melts.

Transfer the pasta into bowls. Sprinkle some Parmigiano over each bowl and serve.

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