Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes and Cognac

Spaghetti al Cognac

This dish was invented by Alfredo, the famous Roman chef who created Fettuccine all’Alfredo. It is traditionally eaten in Rome at 4:00 in the morning. It’s a dish that is meant to pack a little heat and is one of those rare instances when you do want some fresh pepper added tp each serving.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 45 minutes


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound fresh, ripe roma tomatoes, peeled, and ¼-inch diced
  • 1 pound spaghetti


  1. Put the olive oil and onion in a 10-inch skillet and place over medium heat. Sauté until the onion turns to a rich golden color, about 10 minutes.
  2. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, cover, and place over high heat.
  3. When the onion is ready, turn the heat up to medium high and add the cognac. Cook for about 30 seconds to allow the alcohol to evaporate then add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are no longer watery and have separated from the oil, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, add the spaghetti, and stir until all the strands are submerged. Cook until al dente. When the pasta is done, drain well, and toss with the sauce. Grind some extra fresh pepper over each serving and serve at once.

Also good with: