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Risotto-Style Pasta with Marinara Sauce

Serves 4

I never would have thought to cook pasta this way if not for a New York Times recipe that hit the stands about a decade ago. I tried it immediately and have been hooked ever since. Simmering pasta in chicken stock or tomato juice gives it significantly more flavor and body, and is well worth the extra time and attention required.


  • 1 can low sodium tomato juice (32 ounces)
  • 1 pound gluten-free spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or grape jelly
  • 1 jar tomato sauce (32 ounces)
  • Grated Pecorino cheese, for garnish


  1. Pour the tomato juice into a large stockpot. Cover and simmer on medium heat until bubbling.
  2. While the juice is heating, break the spaghetti into 3-4 inch sections. Add the oil and sugar to the tomato juice and stir. Then add the spaghetti, stirring continually until it begins to soften.
  3. Once the pasta is soft and pliable, lower the heat and simmer gently, stirring a few times per minute until most of the juice is absorbed. If you prefer your spaghetti with a generous amount of marinara, add all or part of the can of sauce to your desired ratio. Stir constantly as it heats.
  4. When thoroughly heated, serve in pasta bowls and sprinkle with Pecorino.

Photo credit: Stacey Morris

Photo credit: Stacey Morris