Italian cooking is seeping through all the fissures of all respectable menus. Be it a five-star restaurant or a humble roadside café, pasta is one thing which haunts every food-lovers taste buds. It’s however a shame that almost all of us are scared of cooking pasta at home.
Cooking pasta is not only a form of art but it also gives a sheer culinary pleasure to a food-lover. If you think, pasta is not your cup of tea when it comes to simple cooking, read on to unravel a few easy yet delicious pasta sauce recipes.
Types of sauces
Pasta sauces basically are divided into four main groups – tomato based, cream based, wine based and the no-cook ones. The tomato based group includes the delicious Marinara sauce and the heavenly Arrabbiata sauce. The cream based group includes rich sauces like Alfredo and Carbonara.
Wine-based sauces are Marsala and Madeira, which although not very common in commercial Italian cooking, however, taste splendid. The last group, which is the no-cook ones, includes sauces which cook in the heat of the pasta, like Pesto.
All these sauces can be modified when it comes to adding meat or vegetables but the base or method of cooking remains the same, which is, either tomato, cream and cheese, wine and no cooking. Here are two easy to make pasta sauces which can be made very easily in your own kitchen. Once, you get the hang of making a pasta sauce, you can easily add on your variation to suit your taste and style of cooking.
Italian cooking demands a lot of dedication and honesty when it comes to its flavors. Do not try to substitute the herbs, oil, ingredients with its substitute. The basics for a good pasta sauce are olive oil, Italian herbs like oregano, basil, and etcetera. Often, pasta sauces require the use of balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese.
Do not go for ordinary vinegar or cheese. You will spoil the taste and beauty of your sauce. Invest in quality products because good pasta deserves all the goodness it can get.
The Basic Tomato Pasta Sauce
Difficulty level – Easy
Servings per recipe – 2
Preparation time – 10 minutes
Time required for cooking – 30-35 minutes
This sauce is an ideal start when it comes to easy pasta cooking. Easy to make and absolutely heaven to taste, this basic tomato sauce will definitely score brownie points on your dinner table. Let’s have a look at the ingredients and the recipe.
5 Medium tomatoes chopped along with the juice
2 Small or 1 medium onion, chopped
5 Garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 Tablespoons of Olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
¼ Teaspoon (or less, according to your taste) of dried pepper flakes
A pinch of black pepper
Salt as per taste
¼cup Chopped basil leaves
Grated Parmesan cheese
1. Take a saucepan and wait for it to heat up a bit over medium flame. Keep you hand just above the area to feel the warmth. If you can keep the hand for just about two to three seconds, it’s warm enough. Now add the olive oil to this warm saucepan.
2. Add the onions to the olive oil and keep cooking and stirring occasionally till they become translucent and golden brown. This step can take about 5 to 8 minutes. It is now time to add the garlic to the onions. Keep stirring the onion and garlic for around a minute. The aroma will fill up your kitchen air. Bask in it.
3. Now add the wonderful and fresh tomatoes and the tomato puree. Keep stirring. Bring this mixture to a boil. It is time to add the spices. The first spice to go into this wonderful tomato flavored sauce is red pepper flakes. Add according to your taste. It’s best to keep it to minimum as this sauce is meant to be sweet and tangy.
4. Lower the heat now and let the sauce simmer in low heat for around fifteen to twenty minutes. Keep stirring in between, taking efforts to smash the tomato chunks into a wonderful sauce like consistency. Don’t worry if the sauce turns out be a bit chunky as it is meant to burst in the tomato flavor in your mouth with the chunks of tomatoes.
5. Once done, add the seasoning according to taste. The salt should be added in tandem with the sweetness of the tomatoes and onions. If you want an extra zing to the sauce, you can add a few drops of lemon zest in it. It completely depends on your choice however. Finish off by sprinkling black pepper and the chopped basil leaves.
This sauce is very easy to make and the best thing about this is that you can store it in your refrigerator for a span of five to six days. Keep in mind to store this sauce in an air-tight container. When you are ready to serve, boil the pasta of your choice and in a pan heat the pasta and this sauce and cook for a few minutes.
Add in chunks of boiled chicken or toasted veggies if you want. The pasta will absorb the wonderful flavors of this sauce. Garnish with grated Parmesan and a few basil leaves.
The Heavenly Alfredo Sauce
Difficulty level – Easy
Servings per recipe – 2
Preparation time – 15 minutes (The grating process might take some time)
Time required for cooking – 20 minutes
Well, weight watchers please stop counting the calories while you enjoy this divine pasta sauce. The creamy and cheesy sauce makes your mouth melt and your taste buds tingle with sheer ecstasy.
Alfredo is one of the most commonly preferred Italian pasta sauces and as you will discover, it is rather easy to make. Just be generous with the ingredients and don’t crinkle your eyes while thinking about the calories. Appreciate good food like a true connoisseur would.
2 Cups of Parmesan cheese finely grated (Do not compromise on the cheese, your Alfredo demands this much!)
¼ cup butter (You can take either salted or unsalted butter)
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ cloves of garlic chopped finely
Half bunch parsley chopped finely
1. Take a saucepan and melt the butter over low heat. Be extremely cautious while heating butter. It tends to cook quickly and as a result burn soon. If you want to cut down on the butter, you can also take two tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil.
2. Heat the butter first and then add the olive oil while the butter is still melting. To this melted butter, add the heavy cream and let the creamy mixture simmer for five to six minutes.
3. Now add the chopped garlic and the grated cheese. Stir continuously with quick movements so that the cheese doesn’t form lumps. The idea behind adding the garlic not in the butter but later is to cook it in the cream rather than cooking the cream in garlic butter.
4. Keep stirring till the mixture is absolutely creamy. Add the chopped parsley and serve. Your Alfredo is ready. Pour it over pasta and serve with grated cheese.
This sauce cannot be stored as the cream starts to get sour and the mixture starts thickening. The best thing you can do with an Alfredo sauce is to serve it fresh from the girdle.
These two basic sauces are easy to make and delicious to taste. Master these basic pasta sauces and you can add on your list of ingredients to customize it. From meat to veggies to nuts, the choice is endless. So which one are you cooking today?