The Ultimate Guide to Pasta Sauce
Pasta sauce is an integral part of what makes pasta the ultimate comfort food. Sauces vary based on ingredients and flavors. If the thought of choosing what sauce you want to top your pasta stresses you out, then this article is for you. We’ve put together an introduction to the different types of pasta sauce. Bon Appetit!
Red pasta sauces are tomato based and vary based on additional ingredients. Common types of red sauce include marinara, Bolognese, and vodka sauce. Marinara sauce originated in Naples, Italy and is traditionally composed of tomatoes, garlic, herbs (basil, oregano), and onions. Marinara has a smooth texture compared to other sauces. Traditionally it pairs best with thin noodles such as spaghetti or shorter noodles such as penne. Bolognese sauce has a heartier texture and flavor, using a tomato base, minced beef or pork, onions, carrots and other herbs. Vodka sauce is a mixture of tomato and cream sauce, for those looking for a flavor in between red and white sauces.
Most people often refer to white, cream-based sauces as Alfredo sauce because the cream is thick. Alfredo sauce is hearty and generally paired with wider noodles. Comparatively, white sauce is cheesy and uses Parmesan or Asiago cheeses to bring out the creamiest of flavors. Fettuccine Alfredo, anyone?
Pesto sauce is green in color because the base ingredient is the herb, basil. There are several varieties of pesto sauce from which to choose. However, most incorporate minced garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan, and olive oil. For a milder flavor, try roasting the garlic. This step helps to tone down the strong taste. Pesto is a versatile sauce that you can pair with any pasta, but most often pairs with long noodles. You can also try mixing Pesto and Alfredo sauces together to get the best of both worlds.
Oil- Based Sauces
Sauces incorporating olive oil as a base often mix in minced herbs. Perhaps you’re looking for a lighter pasta dish. Thin noodles such as linguini or spaghetti pair nicely with a simple garlic and olive oil sauce. For a bolder flavor, squeeze in lemon juice or lemon zest to balance out herbs. Ultimately, oil-based sauces are quick to prepare and take on a variety of flavors, making them a great go-to.