Spice Up Pasta with a Delicious Sauce

Spice Up Pasta with a Delicious Sauce

Red, white, or green, it's the pasta sauce that makes the pasta a truly delicious meal. Whether you make pesto, cheese, or red sauce, making your own homemade pasta sauce can be a rewarding experience.  Best of all, the  fruits of your labors will be delicious! Below are a three different pasta sauce recipes. They are all simple to make, but fantastic to eat.

Pesto Sauce
The exact proportions of this recipe can be altered however you like.  If you want more oil, add a little more; more parmesan, etc. You should alter this recipe to taste the way you like your pesto.

When using this pesto as a pasta sauce, be sure to reserve some of the water from cooking the pasta. Pesto has a tendency to make pasta a little dry, and adding a little pasta water will keep your pesto sauce and pasta moist and fresh. Homemade pesto also freezes well for use later.

1.5 cups fresh basil
.25 cup pine nuts
2 gloves garlic
.5 cup grated Parmesan cheese
.5 cup olive oil
1 cup pasta water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.

Mix pesto and pasta, adding reserved pasta water slowly until desired consistency is reached.

Four Cheese Sauce

Cheese sauce is one of the tastiest sauces to put on pasta.  It is thick, delicious, and very rich. Try rich cheeses like Gruyere or use a milder cheese for a milder sauce. The Fontina cheese in this recipe is very important; it is adds an essential flavor. Use this recipe as the base for the four-cheese sauce of your dreams.

The base of this sauce is called a roux; most roux recipes are very similar and quite simple. The essential step to making a thick, smooth sauce is to make sure the butter and flour are smooth before you add the milk.

2 oz Mozzarella
2 oz Gruyere
2 oz Fontina
2 oz Mild Provolone
2 Tbsp Butter
1 1/2 Tbsp Flour
1 1/8 cups Milk
12 oz Pasta

Heat the butter in a saucepan. When the butter is melted, stir in the flour.  You want the butter and flour mixture to be smooth, not lumpy. If your butter and flour is lumpy, your roux will not thicken correctly.

When butter and flour begin to bubble, add the milk and mix well, making sure it is not lumpy. Cook over low heat for approx. 5 minutes, stirring often. The mixture will begin to thicken.  Continue to stir, making sure the sauce is not lumpy and does not stick and burn.

Cut all of the cheese into small strips; add the cheese gradually to the roux, stirring well as the cheese melts.

The sauce should be smooth and velvety.  Season generously with pepper and add salt to taste.

Serve hot over cooked pasta of your choice.

Basic Red Sauce

This is a red sauce that tastes great on all sorts of pasta, including lasagna. It is flavorful, filling, and delicious for any occasion. If you do not eat meat, simply leave out the sausage.

1 large can whole tomatoes
1 large can pureed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 lb Italian sausage (sweet or spicy)
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup celery, chopped
1 red/green bell pepper (optional)
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp honey

Fry the sausage, breaking into small pieces in the large saucepan. A potato masher works well to break up the sausage, but a spatula can do the job as well. Once the sausage is done, pour out any extra grease if it has any, reserving some to saute the onion. Remove sausage from saucepan.

Using the same saucepan, saute onion, garlic, and celery in large saucepan, using reserved fat. This step is essential to giving your sauce the perfect flavor. If you are using pepper, add the pepper after the onion and celery are done, sauteing only lightly.

Squish the whole tomatoes in the can with your hands; this will give the sauce a delicious chunky texture.

Add the squished whole tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, and sausage to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently.

Add basil, oregano, and thyme.  Continue to simmer gently for an hour or so, stirring occasionally.

Stir in honey. The honey will mellow the bitter flavor of the tomatoes. Continue to simmer over low heat until sauce is properly reduced.

Serve hot over pasta, or use in lasagna, eggplant parmesan, etc.