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In which Emma teaches you how to cook spaghetti, how to make her mom's spaghetti sauce, and how to marry Benedict Cumberbatch.

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Written and hosted by:
Emma Mills

Directed and edited by:
T. Michael (Mike) Martin
(Mike is also a Young Adult novelist. His book, THE END GAMES, is available at all online booksellers, including Amazon:

Executive Producers:
Hank and John Green
Emma: Hey! So last time I showed you what was in my kitchen - you can check that out here - but this time I thought, let's use this kitchen and this kitchen stuff to make something delicious.

No, I'm not a cooking expert. I can't whip up a Ratatouille like that super-smart rat in that movie Ratatouille. But I do know how to prepare a few basic things, so today let's make some spaghetti and tomato sauce.

What're you gonna need?
  • A stove top
  • A pot for pasta
  • A pot for sauce
  • Pasta and sauce
  • A colander
  • A sink
  • A spoon for stirring
  • And lastly, the inclination to make spaghetti

Let's talk sauce. First, you've got your long game and you've got your short game. Do you want to make the sauce from scratch or do you want Paul Newman or Classico to make it for you? Let's talk about the long game first because as the name implies it's going to take longer.

This is my mom's recipe but what is your pasta sauce recipe? I'm sure they must be different. Let us know in the comment section below.

You're gonna need a jar of tomato paste, a jar of tomato puree, any assorted spices you might want like oregano, basil, thyme. Optional garlic and olive oil if you feel so inclined.

Put the garlic in your pot with a little bit of oil. You're gonna want to let it cook for about 30 seconds to, as my mom would say, get some of the rawness out. Which sounds, to me, like a WWE fight reference. We're gonna get the rawness out!

But you don't want to cook it too long because that will make it bitter. So after about 30 seconds add in your tomato puree and your tomato paste. Then take your paste can and fill it with the same amount of cold water and add it to your sauce. You're gonna want to mix it around so everything gets incorporated and then you're gonna wanna add the spices of your choosing. I like to add about a teaspoon of basil, pinch of oregano, and a couple tablespoons of sugar. Keep your sauce on a low heat until it comes to a bubble. Not like boiling, but just sort of bubbling like lava.

Then you're gonna wanna keep it on a very low heat with the cover slightly cracked and you're gonna wanna stir it periodically. How long do you leave it for? I think that's probably up to you. My mom cooks it for 30 to 45 minutes, but she said after 20 you could probably be okay. It's just up your personal preference.

Now let's talk short game. Take your jar of pasta sauce, crack the top, pour it in a sauce pan, bring it to that bubbly lava place, and there you go you're good to go, that's life in the 21st century for you.

While your sauce is going, let's talk pasta.

Take your big pot, fill up the pot with water, set it on the stove and wait for it to boil. Now there's this whole thing online of, like, lid versus no lid when you're waiting for water to boil. Personally, I do not keep the lid on. Mike, what do you do?

Mike: (off-screen) Um, I keep the lid on. It seems make it go quicker. But, I -
E: There you go.
M: (off-screen) - I have no scientific evidence for that (laughs)
E: No, I don't either. So you've got one here, that's me for no lid. Mike votes lid. Use your judgment. Maybe - yeah.
M: (off-screen) That's what- that's what makes the world go round.
E: That's true!

So while you're waiting for your pasta to boil you can imagine your wedding to Benedict Cumberbatch.

When it's finally boiling, throw your pasta in and set your timer. I typically set mine for 9 minutes but it's definitely based on the preference of how you like your pasta. Do you like it a little bit softer, do you like it a little bit al dente? If you lean towards a softer pasta, you're gonna wanna let it sit in the boiling water a little bit longer.

Give it a stir while the pasta is sitting in there. Again, I feel like there's a lid versus no lid thing. What I've heard is if you keep the lid on while the pasta's cooking you risk the chance of it boiling over, so I typically do not put a lid on at this point. But I do stir periodically.

When the timer's gone off for your prescribed amount of time, take a piece of pasta out, see if it's cooked to your liking. If so, take your potholders, pick up the pot, go over to your sink where you've got your colander sitting, and pour out the water and the pasta into your colander. Plate your pasta up pretty soon after you pour it into your colander to avoid clumpy-ness. And then add your sauce and you're good to go.

And that's all we've got for you today. In the comment section below do let us know if you have a special tomato sauce recipe. Also let me know, what's the first thing you ever learned to cook? I would love to hear from you. In the meantime, my heart bubbles over such as a boiling pot of pasta with the love that I feel for you... is a catch phrase I would say if I had a catch phrase but I don't have one yet.

M: First thing I ever learned to cook was - I thought it was pizza - all it was was, like, white bread, cheese, and three little pepperonis that I would put in the shape of Mickey Mouse, so I thought like -
E: Aww! (laughs)
M: - I found my calling. It was really bad. So what about you, what was the first thing you learned to cook?

E: Probably grilled cheese.
M: Yeah? That's a classic.
E: Uh yeah. And we - I learned to butter both sides of the bread. Which I've heard from people is appalling. Um. Do you butter both side-
M: Oh, you mean like the inside and outside? What?
E:- Yes! (laughs) Yeah!