Pasta sauces


In keeping with the recent food theme, I wanted to throw out a request for pasta sauce recipes. Especially anything that has been tried and tested and you know is good. Tomato or not, simple or complicated, doesn’t matter. I could just use some ideas!


one of my favorites is also the easiest, I like it best with angel hair or thin spaghetti but it works with any type. Tortellini is good like this. Drain the pasta, toss it with a generous glop of butter (or high quality olive oil) if you are not inclined to use good high quality fats, don’t bother with this one. I use some chopped garlic or cloves in the cooking water, but if you like stronger flavor add some chopped garlic at this point, grate fresh parmesan and/or romano generously (a cup is not too much), and toss. You can snip-chop fresh basil or oregano if you like those flavors (dry is not so good for this method, but okay)

then you start with the toppings–whatever you have, pizza style–pepperoni, onions, peppers etc. OR diced chicken and artichoke hearts, steamed from frozen or canned marinated (drained) OR ham, snip-chop fresh spinach, with pine nuts. or cooked meatballs w/o sauce and lightly steamed frozen peas.

just a break from the tomato thing–get creative, but make sure the base is good quality fat and cheese. If you are going to use salad oil or margarine and cheese from a can this whole thing is a waste of time. Make sure the toppings are already prepared, and that they go on top of the warm pasta. Serve immediately, but it makes good leftovers.


*I take tomatoes and boil them down…a can of paste…or two. I take red wine, sauteed garlic, spices, and a pinch of cinnamon…stir, and let it sit on the stove like my dad’s sisters right from Italy, used to make. Sometimes, depending on my mood, I’ll add some wine vinegar and pimentos for a tang to the sauce.

My mother, at my dad’s request growing up…used to take one medium sized pork chop (just one)…boil it until the meat literally fell off the bone, and would shred it into the sauce, and then simmer for another two hours. Pretty much, to me, what makes an outstanding homemade sauce…even if you choose to add a jar of store bought sauce…is the simmering. I remember going to my aunts’ houses as a young kid, and they’d be standing there the entire time you were visiting, making sauces…jarring them…then starting all over. lol Dip some Italian bread in…mmmmm…Perfecto. *


My husband and I try to keep the grocery bill low - and since its just the two of us, I tend not to make large pots of things. Instead of buying a jar of pasta sauce which is a few dollars, I just buy a big can of the plum tomatos, its maybe a dollar on sale or just a few cents over. We just simmer the whole plum tomatoes and then I put them over a bed of pasta and as we eat we split them with our forks and let the juices sort of oooze. It is so fresh tasting! Takes a couple minutes but feels so wholesome. That isn’t really a sauce recipe, but its a suggestion for when you are in a pinch for time.


On the video podcast “Grace Before Meals,” Fr. Leo teaches how to make pasta sauce in four liturgical colors:

Liturgical Pasta


Pesto - homemade!

I have a little bullet mixer, so I pack it about half full with fresh basil leaves from my garden. Then add a little olive oil and whip it together. I add enough oil to get it to a good consistency. Then I throw in about 5-6 big cloves of garlic and some parmesan cheese. Mmmmmmmm.
I don’t measure, but I estimate it would be about 1 - 1-1/2 cups packed basil, 5-6 peeled garlic cloves, maybe 3/4 cup olive oil (I watch the consistency), and about 1 cup cheese. I serve it over all kinds of pasta. My kids would eat this every night if they could.

Oh, almost forgot the pine nuts. I buy them in bulk at the grocery store and store them in a baggie in the freezer, so I just reach in, grab a handful, and toss them in too.


Totally stealing recipe this for my own use! Pine nuts - brilliant! I really need to have those on hand more often, I love the idea of buying a large bag and freezing.


When I made my own sauce, I used fresh tomatoes ground through a sieve, sugar to cut the tartness of the tomatoes, oregano, basil, paste, water (maybe a splash of wine) and most important…a couple of bones with the marrow in them. Cooked for hours.

Another poster said a pork chop which is also good. Adds great taste to the sauce.

Another sauce my family likes is Vodka or Pasta Rosa sauce sold in an envelope by Swiss-Knorr. I use evaporated milk to make it thicker and butter. Serve over penne.


The sauce I make is basically canned whole tomatoes that I squeeze and leave chunky,tomato paste, sugar to taste to cut acid, red wine vinegar, italian seasonings (a premix I have from penzey spices) and stock. Since I don’t usually have bones with marrow in them the stock acts as a sub to add meaty “richness” to the sauce. I’ll do beef stock if this is with meatballs or chicken stock if it’s served alone or with chicken, like chicken parmigan.

Now a warning with the vinegar, I use it because I love a slight “tanginess” to my tomato sauce. If you aren’t a fan of vinegar, use regular red wine, but I LOVE when my tomato sauces have a bit of a bite to them. So good.


Me and my wife usually use this as a simple pasta sauce

saute an onion and some garlic

add a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

Add Italian spices to your liking. (we use the Mrs. Dash Italian since it is a combo of everything)


I tend to take what I have and use the blender. I just always take some oil. The rest is things like olives, pepperoni, cheese, basil, whatever I feel like or just simply have around.


I make a good tomato sauce with onions, celery, carrots, garlic, parmesan cheese, Marsala wine and lots of seasonings. I also add a little sugar as I do with anything make with tomatoes or tomatoe sauce, to cut the acidity. I make in large quantities and freeze in single serving sizes. Any time I want Italian, I can thaw what I want and make spaghetti with meatballs or Italian sausage, baked ziti, manaicotti, lasagna, stuffed peppers and more. It takes a little time but well worth the effort and you have a “meal in a minute” for lots of occations.


Our family sauce is such a secret that it was several years after I married my DH before I was trusted with it.

Instead, I’ll tell you my very delicious cheater’s sauce.

First, make the meatballs I have in the meatball thread. Set them in the crock pot. Open a huge jar of Ragu sauce flavored with meat and pour it in. Open a large (not huge) jar of Classico Tomato Basil sauce and pour it in. Optional add-ins: fresh basil, a tiny pinch of cinnamon, a country style pork rib, a handful of romano cheese. Stir a bit.

Cover and cook on low as long as possible - *at least *three or four hours - twice as long if you have raw pork in there. Serve over your favorite pasta. Mine’s capellini.

DH loves this, and he grew up with the super-secret family sauce!



couple of tbsp of olive oil, a couple cloves of chopped garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes (or not if you don’t like any heat), sautee over med heat for 2-3 min, add 2 cups chicken stock and a cup or so of half and half, and the zest of 1/2 a lemon, salt and pepper. simmer on low for maybe 3-5 min until it thickens a bit, add cooked pasta (about a half pound dry) and a tad of pasta water to thicken the sauce. torn or chopped basil to end. great with chicken or shrimp, also great with tomato sauce added to make a tomato cream sauce. takes no more than 10 minutes total.


My son’s favorite:

Cheese tortellini tossed with sour cream, grated Parmesan and ground pepper. Topped with fresh, diced tomatoes and thinly sliced scallions which have both been lightly sautéed in butter.


Asparagus sauce:
cut a bunch of asparagus in 1" pieces
saute in a pan with some butter until tender (you can cover it)
add salt pepper and some heavy cream (not sour cream) and warm it up
put everything in a blender until you have a smooth cream
put on top of warm pasta (e.g. cheese tortellini) with grated cheese

Pasta cacio e pepe:
Spaghetti (Ideally Bucatini), black pepper, real Romano cheese (Pecorino).
Pour the spaghetti into the salted boiling water
When you drain the pasta, keep some of the cooking water aside
Put the pasta back on the pot where you boiled it and add a bit of water, a bit of Pecorino and then stir
Add some black ground pepper and keep stirring
Add the some more Pecorino and keep stirring
Repeat cycle
The pasta will be ready once the cheese, the cooking water, and the ground pepper have amalgamated together forming a creamy sauce.


This is the best thread ever! :smiley: The pinch of cinnamon in the tomato sauce that a couple of you mentioned is awesome…I would never have known about that.

I do a lot of pasta tossed in browned or clarified butter and parmesan cheese. Very simple and fattening. I found a couple different recipes online that mention this combo but adding a bit of nutmeg in with the cheese. Has anyone ever tried this? If so, would this be in place of or in addition to the regualr Italian-y spices I would use in a sauce like this (garlic, oregeno, basil…)?


Nutmeg can be used in non tomato based sauces. Do not use it to replace "green"spices. A nice sauce that could go with a little bit of nutmeg is pasta carbonara. Use of nutmeg in recipes with eggs is quite common.


A pinch of cinnamon is also great in tomato-based beef vegetable soup, along with a can of beer. Oooh, I just had a thought - I wonder what a little beer would do for the sauce?



Ok CAF chefs!

I have about half a package of fresh mozzarella left over from another recipe. I’m trying to think “outside the box” and was wondering if there’s any way yall know I could incorporate mozzarella into a pasta dish or pasta sauce? The only thing I can think of is a baked dish like baked ziti or macaroni and cheese, but I don’t want to go that route if I don’t have to lol.

TIA! :thumbsup:

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