5 Pasta Sauces You Need To Master

Aug 13, 2018 | Pasta, Recipes

I have never met anyone who didn’t like pasta. There are so many different shapes and so many different sauces; it would be impossible not to find something you could love. The problem is that it’s easy to get stuck just making the same pasta sauce over and over again. The thing is, with so much variety out there, there’s no need to get stuck in a repeating cycle. Below is a list of 5 pasta sauces you need to master. Some you may have heard of. Some you might not of.

All of the pasta sauces on the list have around five ingredients, and they take very little time to put together. So, let’s get into it.

Here are…

5 Pasta Sauces You Need To Master

Tomato (Marinara) 

There are few things in the world of gastronomy that are as perfect as a classic tomato sauce. Tomatoes, onion, olive oil, salt & pepper, sugar, and basil combine to make something so simple, so unassuming, and so delicious that it boggles the mind.

So how do you make it? Start by dicing an onion. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a medium pot and add the onion to it. You don’t want the heat to be too high, a medium temperature will be fine. The idea here is that you want to cook the onions until they are slightly caramelized. It’s going to take about ten minutes and you will have to stir them every few minutes or so.

While the onions are cooking open a can of whole tomatoes. If you can get San Marzano Tomatoes, which are imported from Italy, that would be best. Open the can, pour the tomatoes into a bowl and crush them withcrushing tomatoes by hand your hand. You don’t need to completely puree them but you don’t want any big chunks either.

Once the onions are slightly caramelized add the tomatoes and a bit of salt and pepper. Heat the tomatoes, give the sauce a taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and sugar as needed. You don’t want the sauce to be sweet. That’s not what the sugar is for. The sugar is there to take some of the acidity out of the tomatoes. The more you caramelize your onions, the less sugar you may need. Also, the tartness of the tomatoes depends on what time of year they were harvested. If it was sunny that day. How much water they had. So, don’t just blindly add sugar. Taste and then add only as needed.

After the sauce is seasoned, simmer it for ten minutes and then take it off the heat. Chop up one to two tablespoons of fresh basil and add it to the sauce. From here you can puree the sauce or just leave it as is.

This sauce is great to have with a stuffed pasta like ravioli, or tortellini. It’s great to use in the layers of a lasagna. It’s fantastic in a seafood linguine with a bit of white wine and chilli. Or it’s great just on its own over spaghetti with parmesan. There is so much you can do with such a simple sauce that you need to master this one A.S.A.P.


Pesto is one of those sauces that people often buy at the grocery store because they don’t know how easy it is to make. The ingredients are fresh basil, parmesan, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and salt. That’s it. Take all of these ingredients, but them in a blender and you have pesto. Honestly, that’s it.

If you want to store the pesto for a week or two in the fridge, blanch the basil by dropping it in boiling water for thirty seconds and then into ice water to cool it. Dry the basil off as best you can with paper towels before adding it to the other ingredients. This blanching will help the basil retain its green colour and will prevent your pesto from going black as it sits.

If you have one big bunch of basil, use two cloves of garlic, a quarter to a half cup of good olive oil, two to three tablespoons of parmesan cheese, one to two tablespoons of pine nuts, and a good pinch of salt. Puree this, add more oil if needed and it’s good to go.

The pinenuts freak people out because they are really, really expensive. Luckily, you can buy them from the bulk section. So, only get the amount you need. If all you need is two tablespoons only buy that much.

This sauce, like the tomato sauce, is very versatile and goes well with so many things. Have with pasta. Toss it with sausages and roasted peppers. You can add it to mayonnaise to jazz up your sandwiches. It’s so good and quick to make.

Aglio e olio

Pronounced Ag-li-ol-ee-o this sauce is made of three ingredients. Olive oil, garlic, and chilli flakes.

Heat a generous amount of olive oil (three to four tablespoons) over medium heat, slice two cloves of garlic as thin as you can and add that to the oil. Cook until the garlic softens. You may need to turn the heat down if the garlic starts to colour. After four or five minutes add half a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes. Toss cooked spaghetti into the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed.

This is one of those unassuming sauces. Big flavours out of very little.

Brown Butter 

Brown butter is butter that is cooked just until the milk solids begin to caramelized or brown. To the browned butter you can add chopped herbs like rosemary and thyme. You can add lemon juice, capers, and olives. Or the most classic pairing of all, brown butter and sage. This sauce goes really well with fish or seafood. And the sage and brown butter go really well with pasta stuffed with squash. So good.

To make brown butter put a quarter cup of butter in a pan at heat over medium. The butter will melt and then it will start to foam, you will notice after a few minutes brown bits around the edges of the pan. Swirl the butter and watch closely because the butter will brown quickly at this point. There is a fine line between brown butter and burnt butter, and you don’t want to cross it. The colour should be a caramel brown and it should smell nutty.

Once the butter has browned you need to shock by adding something cold like lemon juice, a touch of wine, or even some capers or olives. You want to drop the temperature of the butter as quickly as possible to prevent it from burning.

Now, pour it over haddock, or salmon, or toss it some squash stuffed pasta.

Carbonara food porn parm

Classic Carbonara is an egg, some bacon (traditionally guanciale which is jowl bacon), parmesan, and pepper. That’s it.

Put one egg in a bowl and add two to three tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese, and a quarter teaspoon of black pepper. Whisk this egg and cheese mixture together. Add the hot bacon and hot linguine. Stir until the pasta is completely coated and the sauce thickens.

The heat from the bacon and the pasta cooks the egg as the parmesan melts it creates a creamy sauce.

You can also add a small handful of chopped parsley to finish it.

This is a dish that only takes as long to cook as it takes to make some bacon and some pasta. It is one of those dishes that confuses people with its simplicity. People try to overcomplicate this dish and make it much more difficult than it is. It is perfect just the way it is. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.





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