Recapture Some Elegance with Audrey Hepburn’s Spaghetti al Pomodoro

audrey hepburn in front of a collage of spaghetti

Giovanna Chung, KCM/Getty Images

The chic simplicity is very on-brand.

Since her 1950s rise to fame in Roman Holiday, Audrey Hepburn has been an abiding film star and enduring style icon. To this day, no one else has worn a little black dress quite so well (though Katie and Carrie did a pretty excellent version one Halloween). It’s not an overstatement to say that Hepburn’s minimalistic, timeless looks reshaped post-War fashion — plus, she has a well-deserved humanitarian legacy that makes us feel good about fangirling.

And we’re not alone: As you may remember, Katie is a devoted member of the Audrey fan club. She wrote that Hepburn was one of her favorite people to interview:

“The morning she walked into the studio, she took my breath away. She was as exquisitely beautiful and elegant as you might expect, but it was her warmth and graciousness that really bowled me over. She walked around and shook everyone’s hand — every single person, from the cameraman to the production assistant. I really felt that I was in the presence of royalty.”

We should also add that Katie has a framed (handwritten!) card from Hepburn in her home. And we’re fairly jealous — we’d frame that, too.

With all this classic elegance in mind, we’re hyped on making a Hepburn-original recipe. It starts with a basil-heavy Pomodoro sauce made with diced vegetables — this simmers for just about 45 minutes. After the vegetables are tender, simply ladle a scoop of the dense, rich sauce over a plate of spaghetti (or the pasta of your choice). You can garnish this gorgeous dish with a bit more basil. Grating a generous amount of parmesan over your meal certainly won’t hurt, either. Really, the hardest part of this pasta recipe is dicing vegetables — and waiting for it to finish.

Audrey Hepburn’s Spaghetti al Pomodoro

Audrey Hepburn’s Spaghetti al Pomodoro

1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced small
2 large cans (28 oz. each) peeled Italian Roma tomatoes
1 large bunch fresh basil, washed
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. spaghetti pasta
Salt to taste
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a large pot combine onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and tomatoes. Drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil. Take half of your basil and remove whole leaves from the stems (you should end up with about ½ cup of leaves). Add the basil leaves to the pot. Bring sauce to a simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking apart the larger tomatoes as they cook.

While the sauce is simmering, fill another large pot with 4 quarts of water and slowly heat it up. Take the remaining basil and cut the leaves into small pieces using a pair of scissors—this will help prevent bruising and blackening of the leaves. Reserve.

After 45 minutes, or when the diced vegetables are tender, turn off the heat. Let the sauce rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the pot of water to a rolling boil. Add salt, if desired. Cook your spaghetti pasta until al dente (retaining a little bit of snap to the core). Drain and rinse the pasta with lukewarm water to prevent sticking.

Taste the sauce, add salt to taste if desired. Serve pasta topped generously with sauce, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and the remaining freshly cut basil leaves.