8 pasta sauces every good cook should master

  • Share this story
8 pasta sauces every good cook should master

Because the saucier the better.

Alfredo sauce


To make Alfredo sauce: Heat 1 T of olive oil in a pan, then fry 2 finely chopped garlic cloves. Add 1–2 cups of cream, 2 fresh thyme sprigs and 1 cup grated Parmesan, stirring occasionally. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat until reduced.

The story goes that Alfredo sauce was created in 1914 by Alfredo di Lelio who was trying to please his pregnant wife. He created a sauce made from Parmesan and butter and poured it over some fettuccine. He later went onto open a restaurant. No surprises there!

Alle vongole


A Naples original, this literally means “spaghetti with clams” in English. It’s prepared in two ways: bianco (white) with oil, garlic, parsley, and sometimes a splash of white wine; and rosso (red), as for the former but with tomatoes and fresh basil. This method is more frequent in the south of Italy.

To make alle vongole sauce: Heat 3 T olive oil in a pan over medium heat, the fry 1 clove crushed garlic. Add 1 x 400 g can crushed tomatoes, 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, 500 g mussels and ½ cup dry white wine and cook until slightly reduced. Add 30 g torn chorizo if you like. Serve with spaghetti and a generous handful of torn Italian parsley.



To make carbonara sauce: Heat a nonstick frying pan and fry 400 g pork rashers for 5 minutes on each side, or until crispy. Mix 6 egg yolks, 1 cup grated Parmesan, ½ cup cream, salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Add cooked, hot pasta and toss using a spoon and fork, coating the pasta in the creamy sauce. Once mixed, top with the pork rashers.



To make spinach-and-pistachio pesto: Blend 80 g shelled and toasted pistachios, the juice of 2 lemons, 4 cloves garlic, 2 T parsley, 2 t basil and 3 cups spinach for 2 minutes. Slowly start adding 1½ cups of olive oil and stir. Blend for a further 5 minutes.


Pork meatballs in tomato sauce

To make primavera sauce: Heat 2 t olive oil in a small saucepan, then add 2 cloves finely chopped garlic and 1 finely chopped red chilli. Add 2 T tomato paste, 1 x 800 g can whole peeled tomatoes and 25 g dried porcini mushrooms. Cook for 15–20 minutes. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.



To make puttanesca sauce: Place a saucepan over a medium to low heat. Add 2 T olive oil and, when hot, add 2–3 chopped cloves garlic, 1 finely chopped fresh chilli and 1 chopped red onion. Fry until fragrant, then add 1 x 400 g can whole tomatoes and gently simmer for 10–15 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Add 1 T capers, ¼ cup smashed black olives and 6 smashed anchovy fillets and mix to combine. Season to taste and serve with bowls of steaming al dente penne and a drizzle of olive oil.

Ragù alla Bolognese


To make Bolognese sauce: Heat 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add 1 sage sprig and fry for 20 seconds. Remove from the pan and do the same with 1 sprig rosemary and 1 fresh bay leaf. Add 1 chopped, red onion to the herb-infused oil and sauté until soft. Add the 500 g mince and brown, then return the herbs to the pan. Add 3 finely chopped leeks, 100 g pitted and chopped black olives and 1 cup white wine and simmer. Once the wine has reduced by half, add 2 cups tomato passata, 1 T tomato paste, 1 cup beef stock and 1 T sugar. Combine all the ingredients and season to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. Serve topped with grated Parmesan.



To make marinara sauce: Simmer 1 cup fish or vegetable stock, 1 handful fresh basil, 1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes, ½ cup cream, 1 clove crushed garlic and a pinch of sugar for 5 minutes. Blend, then check the seasoning. To serve, garnish with a sprinkling of fresh basil leaves.

Discover more Italian recipes here.

TASTE Article by: TASTE

The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.

Social Media

You might be interested in...