Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Simple everyday pasta sauces


  • Please log in to reply
38 replies to this topic

#1 SpaghettiWestern

SpaghettiWestern
  • participating member
  • 97 posts
  • Location:El Paso Texas

Posted 05 May 2010 - 02:01 PM

I eat pasta every day for lunch or dinner. And every day.... I cook from scratch. some days I JUST want to eat the pasta and dont want to go into all the peeling and chopping. I dont mind doing a little of it but some days I just want my pasta not to be the big production it turns out to be. I love anchovies and olives ... the sauce usually has alot of that in it.
but.... how to streamline my prep time and still have a great condimento for my pasta.

I would love some suggestons please..... I am open to anything.

thanks

#2 Beebs

Beebs
  • participating member
  • 704 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, BC, Canada

Posted 05 May 2010 - 02:36 PM

I like this one when I'm feeling lazy and the tomatoes are particularly nice. You don't even need a knife (unless you want to!).

-Take a couple of ripe Roma tomatoes. Grate them coarsely on a box grater into a bowl. No need to peel the tomatoes, but I usually toss out the big chunk of skin left over at the end of grating.
-Grate, crush, or mince some garlic, toss that in the bowl.
-EVOO, salt, pepper. Toss those in the bowl.
-Rip up some basil with your hands. Toss in the bowl.
-Dump your drained pasta in the bowl, mix it up, add grated parm, and more EVOO and/or a bit of pasta water if it's too dry.

That's it! No cooking necessary (except for the pasta), because the hot pasta warms up the sauce.

#3 SpaghettiWestern

SpaghettiWestern
  • participating member
  • 97 posts
  • Location:El Paso Texas

Posted 05 May 2010 - 03:11 PM

I like this one when I'm feeling lazy and the tomatoes are particularly nice. You don't even need a knife (unless you want to!).

-Take a couple of ripe Roma tomatoes. Grate them coarsely on a box grater into a bowl. No need to peel the tomatoes, but I usually toss out the big chunk of skin left over at the end of grating.
-Grate, crush, or mince some garlic, toss that in the bowl.
-EVOO, salt, pepper. Toss those in the bowl.
-Rip up some basil with your hands. Toss in the bowl.
-Dump your drained pasta in the bowl, mix it up, add grated parm, and more EVOO and/or a bit of pasta water if it's too dry.

That's it! No cooking necessary (except for the pasta), because the hot pasta warms up the sauce.



You know? I have seen that one before and wondered about it. I just cant imagine how it would be not cooking the sauce. I love to cut up those baby roma tomatoes.... never peel them ... just quater them and throw them in the saute pan. i will definitely give this a try. love anything with a tomato sauce... fresh or otherwise.
tomatoes make a great base for a quick sauce.

thanks for posting this.

#4 Blether

Blether
  • participating member
  • 1,728 posts
  • Location:Tokyo

Posted 05 May 2010 - 04:14 PM

Don't you use a freezer and small keeper boxes ? Microwaves defrost one-portion sizes; 2 or 3 portions will keep in the fridge after defrosting. And are you seriously eating pasta that often and not paying a tithe to Marcella Hazan ?! I'll pass her 'North Italian white sauce' on to you here - just butter and grated parmesan, added in alternate lots (about three batches) and tossed each time. Mmm.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.


#5 nickrey

nickrey
  • society donor
  • 2,250 posts
  • Location:Sydney, Australia

Posted 05 May 2010 - 04:20 PM

If you don't want to go to any trouble, use already prepared pesto or tapenades. Simply cook pasta, drain and toss sauce through. The heat of the pasta will warm the already cooked product.

That said, you don't need to spend a lot of time on very nice tomato based pasta sauces. Chop some garlic and onion, put into a cold saucepan with oil, bring up to heat and cook until transparent. Toss in a can of crushed tomatoes, including juice. Add your extra bits (eg. pitted olives, anchovies, tinned salmon, capers or whatever takes your fancy). Cook at medium heat stirring occasionally until tomato thickens; think bubbling mud pools to get some idea of how it will look. Finish with salt, sugar, and vinegar to balance flavor. Throw in some basil leaves or a prepared pesto and that's it (serve with grated parmesan). If you are quick at chopping, it really shouldn't take much longer than it takes to cook the pasta. Think dinner in twenty minutes, most of which is things bubbling by themselves on the stove top.

In place of canned tomatoes, you can use a prepared passata which is just sieved uncooked tomatoes. You will still need to cook to get bring out the sweetness.

Additionally, if you want an easy, tasty pasta. Cook the pasta and drain. Toss through some very finely chopped or crushed garlic, butter, and grated parmesan. Again, the raw garlic will cook in the pasta.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog


#6 jk1002

jk1002
  • participating member
  • 203 posts

Posted 05 May 2010 - 06:07 PM

I follow pretty much the procedure that was demoed in the No Reservations episode. Rather then takingbfresh tomatoes i use canned.

I am a firm believer that good quality canned is better then out os season fresh.

I chop the canned tomatoes, heat em up and concentrate the liquid a bit, i typically do not use all liquid from the can. On the side, I infuse olive oil with basil and garlic and crushed chili flakes

I discqrd the basil/garlic and mix the oil into the tomatoes.

I cook the pasta until nearly done, finish cooking in sthe tomato sauce. Season with a little salt and more chili flakes and finish with a little butter.

Its important not to cook the tomatoes too long, to use a decent amount of olive oil so that one clearly tastes it in the sauce and also not let the oil get too hot.

If executed right, which i admitedly don't always, its a divine dish.


Another one that i do since college is simple fried garlic with olive oil and crushed chili pepper. This can be jacked up with asparagus or artixhokes or shrimp etc.

Fried mushrooms finished with portwine and cream zcan also be very good.

#7 qrn

qrn
  • participating member
  • 748 posts

Posted 05 May 2010 - 07:46 PM

I cook a whole pound of pasta at once and use whatever, for the meal, then take the rest, and put it in serving size portions and freeze it in flat plastic bags. then thaw in hot tap water,,and drain, and either serve it that way with sauce or put it in a frying pan with butter or evoo , and whatever...I do it that way to save time,as I am at high altitude and it takes much longer to cook the pasta...
Bud

#8 Corinna

Corinna
  • participating member
  • 233 posts

Posted 05 May 2010 - 08:35 PM

I also recommend the fresh tomato sauce, as described above. Go easy on the garlic, since it will not get cooked. If you have time to let the sauce sit for a couple hours before serving, even better. It's a wonderful treat when tomatoes are in season!
Corinna Heinz, aka Corinna
Check out my adventures, culinary and otherwise at http://corinnawith2ns.blogspot.com/

#9 Pierogi

Pierogi
  • participating member
  • 1,476 posts
  • Location:Long Beach, CA

Posted 05 May 2010 - 11:01 PM

I also recommend the fresh tomato sauce, as described above. Go easy on the garlic, since it will not get cooked. If you have time to let the sauce sit for a couple hours before serving, even better. It's a wonderful treat when tomatoes are in season!

I also do this frequently, and for an unusual twist to it, replace the basil with chopped cilantro, and the parmesan with smallish chunks of mozzarella. Toss in 1/2 to 1 (plus) minced jalapeno (depends on how spicy you like your food). Maybe a little mild vinegar (white wine or rice wine) if your tomatoes aren't acid-y enough. Make sure to let it sit for about 1/2 an hour at room temp. Don't let it sit too much longer than that, or the cilantro gets icky.

Toss in the hot pasta, adjust seasoning with S&P to taste. Really good....
--Roberta--
"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley
Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

#10 SpaghettiWestern

SpaghettiWestern
  • participating member
  • 97 posts
  • Location:El Paso Texas

Posted 05 May 2010 - 11:33 PM

Hey thanks everyone for your suggestions.

and Blether ! .....of course I use a freezer and small keeper boxes. LOL I have a few in there with meat sauces that i spent alot of time making. but I dont like to eat that every day. i like fresh veg. based sauces and bring out the meat sauces about once a week. AND no..... I am not paying attention to Marcella Hazen. LOL
I dont have alot of time to read cook books... in fact I only have a few. mostly from my travels to exotic places...none of them have any pasta recipies in them.

Being Italian....most of what I have learned is from my family......but i havent been around them enough to really learn as much as I should. I havent gotten anything out of cookbooks. maybe i should.

I always use garlic, anchovies, olives as a base for most of my daily sauces. and when I have had time to shop.... watercress or any bitter green makes a good plate of pasta as well.
but I always cook from scratch...... everyday.

I guess I could streamline my prep by making a quanity of good tomato sauce and then adding what i want to it as the pasta is boiling. seems that even if I do that..... in a few days ... its gone again and i have to start another big pot. LOL
There are days when i have pasta for more than one meal.
Thats kind of the way it was in my Scilian family. Its not a meal for my father if we didnt have a pasta and bread on the table.

And Bud.... I am at 6200ft and my water takes a little longer to boil but i start it alot earlier than when i want to eat. LOL altitude never keeps me from doing anything.

Anyway..... thanks again everyone. you have had some good suggestions here

#11 Aloha Steve

Aloha Steve
  • society donor
  • 498 posts
  • Location:Honolulu

Posted 06 May 2010 - 12:33 AM

but I always cook from scratch...... everyday.

Care to share your recipe for the dough you use to make the pasta ?
Do you always make the same shape ?
[size="1"] edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)[/size]

[size="3"]"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill[/size]
[size="4"]Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb[/size]

#12 SpaghettiWestern

SpaghettiWestern
  • participating member
  • 97 posts
  • Location:El Paso Texas

Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:24 AM


but I always cook from scratch...... everyday.

Care to share your recipe for the dough you use to make the pasta ?
Do you always make the same shape ?



Aloha Steve ..... I am smiling now. I cant share with you my dough recipe because I dont go that far to make fresh dough everyday. I use only Setaro or Rustichella pasta.... in all shapes and sizes. Usually everyday... a different shape. LOL.... depending on whether the sauce is chunky or not.

I leave the fresh dough to my mother.... who DOES make it nearly every day.

#13 cfm

cfm
  • participating member
  • 82 posts

Posted 06 May 2010 - 10:02 AM

My favourite lunchtime pasta is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall's River Cottage Cookbook. I like it because it is simple and the chopping is of the very easiest and least messy sort - slicing courgettes. You slice courgettes, and fry them with a little garlic and salt over a low heat so that they kind of disintegrate and mush down. Then you stir in a little cream and plenty parmesan. That's it. I have marked the recipe "sweet, good" and made it regularly since. I noticed recently that in The Minimalist Cooks at Home, Mark Bittman has a recipe which he describes as a sort of courgette carbonara. I can't remember exaclty how he proceeds, but as I am interested at the moment in getting plenty food inside me, I thought that next time it could be worth adding an egg to the scheme for extra nourishment.

Catherine

#14 Beebs

Beebs
  • participating member
  • 704 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, BC, Canada

Posted 06 May 2010 - 10:39 AM

Almost forgot about spaghetti carbonara - so simple, fast, and comforting. And not a lot of prep or cooking involved either!

I particularly like Nigella Lawson's version of carbonara. Her recipe calls for a glug of white vermouth or white wine added to the bacon/pancetta, simmered down till it's syrupy, add pasta. Then mix it all together with egg, parm, s&p, chopped parsley.

I am seriously contemplating spaghetti carbonara for dinner tonight.

#15 SpaghettiWestern

SpaghettiWestern
  • participating member
  • 97 posts
  • Location:El Paso Texas

Posted 06 May 2010 - 12:44 PM

WOW.... LOVE those 2 carbonara suggestions alot. I wasnt thinking about that for some reason.... but sounds really good.

Today for lunch I stumbled on something that came out great. Yesterday I saw Mario Batali's vodka sauce on sale so I bought a jar to try out. well.... I put a few tablspoons in a pan while the pasta was boiling and I remembered that I had sauteed some mustard greens with anchovy a few days ago and it was in the back of the fridge.

I added it to the pan with the vodka sauce and WOW! it was SOOO fabulous ! something about the way the sauce played off the spicy mustard greens. That was indeed a happy accident. I am going to make that one again.

Mario's sauce is AMAZING. Hs anyone else discovered other veggies that go well with vodka sauce?

Now i think i am on a mission to find out what else i can add when to that sauce.

Thanks again for those 2 carbonara suggestions.

#16 rockhopper

rockhopper
  • participating member
  • 230 posts
  • Location:Haddonfield, NJ

Posted 11 May 2010 - 04:51 AM

Almost forgot about spaghetti carbonara - so simple, fast, and comforting. And not a lot of prep or cooking involved either!

I particularly like Nigella Lawson's version of carbonara. Her recipe calls for a glug of white vermouth or white wine added to the bacon/pancetta, simmered down till it's syrupy, add pasta. Then mix it all together with egg, parm, s&p, chopped parsley.


Too much. The original is fine by itself with a few simple ingredients. celebchefs are motivated to make things "their own".

Boil water for the spaghetti.
While it is coming to temp sautee with olive oil
option 1) diced salt pork. this is the "original."
option 2) a diced slice of bacon without "smoke" flavor. this is easiest in the US.
option 3) guanciale or pancetta. You are solidly in foodier-than-thou territory now.


Drain the spaghetti and place into a warmed bowl. Add a raw egg, the pork, fresh ground black pepper q.b., and pecorino.
Dum vivimus, vivamus!

#17 cinghiale

cinghiale
  • participating member
  • 578 posts
  • Location:Le Marche/Italy

Posted 11 May 2010 - 08:50 AM

Add a raw egg

You'd get serious push-back from Italians on that one. Having yet to accomplish an acceptable carbonara at home, I often ask friends (old, young, male, female), "So, how do YOU make carbonara?" Without variation, the egg part is always "one egg per person, plus one egg yolk." When I try to match that up with pasta amounts, I'm always met with blank stares. "For my son, I have to make 500 g!" And whadup with the extra egg yolk? Like omitting that's gonna torpedo the dish with 6 eggs already in it?

Edited by cinghiale, 11 May 2010 - 08:53 AM.


#18 bainesy

bainesy
  • participating member
  • 105 posts
  • Location:South-East England

Posted 12 May 2010 - 08:52 AM

A simplified sugo all'amatriciana: instead of guanciale (I have never found that in the UK), fry pancetta or bacon strips in a reasonable amount of olive oil until coloured, add v finely sliced or chopped onion and some chilli flakes, cook down then add tinned tomatoes. Season and cook down again until sauce consistency achieved. Serve with spaghetti/linguine/fettucine and plenty of parmigiano.
Sheffield, where I changed,
And ate an awful pie

#19 pedie

pedie
  • participating member
  • 137 posts
  • Location:Playa del Rey, CA

Posted 11 June 2010 - 05:29 PM

My favorite fast pasta is Spaghetti with Tuna. While the pasta is cooking, I saute garlic with red pepper flakes in olive oil until golden, add a can of tuna in olive oil and break it up with a wooden spoon. Once it is heated through, I add a ladle of so of the pasta water to make it saucy...then add the al dente spaghetti to finish cooking in the tuna sauce. throw in some fresh chopped parsley and it is wonderful. I like it with grated cheese...even if you are not supposed to have cheese with fish sauce.

Edited by pedie, 11 June 2010 - 05:29 PM.

Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.

#20 Jaymes

Jaymes
  • participating member
  • 7,402 posts
  • Location:Houston, Texas

Posted 11 June 2010 - 08:10 PM

I do the can of tuna thing, too. Try to get canned tuna imported from Italy.

But for simplicity itself, toss hot pasta with some butter. Salt & pepper and eat.

#21 rlibkind

rlibkind
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,966 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 12 June 2010 - 05:28 AM

Don't forget just butter and parm. That's as quick and easy as it gets. If you want to be sophisticated, add fresh ground black pepper.
Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

#22 Scarpetta

Scarpetta
  • participating member
  • 41 posts

Posted 23 September 2010 - 12:55 AM

Since you like anchovies and olives, how about a puttanesca sauce? You simmer a little olive oil with a minced garlic clove and a couple of anchovy fillets over low heat. As soon as they melt add some chili flakes, tomato sauce (yes, it's a good idea to have a batch of it ready) then a small handful of capers and pitted black olives.
Simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes then add the cooked pasta (whatever kind you prefer) give it a good stir and serve sprinkling some chopped parsley and a whoosh of good olive oil on top of it. No cheese, but if you must then use pecorino romano.
In vino veritas

#23 SobaAddict70

SobaAddict70
  • legacy participant
  • 7,609 posts
  • Location:Hobbiton, the Shire

Posted 26 March 2014 - 10:39 AM

Thinly sliced onion, slowly cooked in olive oil for a half hour or more so that it transforms into a rich, golden brown, seasoned with a little salt, pepper and maybe a splash of vinegar to cut the richness. Add a little anchovy and maybe some chopped parsley. That's one sauce I never get tired of. The onions eventually mellow into a supple, luscious sweetness that almost begs to be accompanied by a bowl of pasta.

The same trick works with cabbage too. I sometimes begin with some pancetta or guanciale cooked in olive oil, then proceed from there.
  • gfweb likes this

#24 janeer

janeer
  • participating member
  • 1,255 posts

Posted 26 March 2014 - 07:00 PM

Surprised no one's mentioned heavy cream. Just heavy cream, salt, and pepper. And if you have the strength to sauté a sliced mushroom or red pepper first, all the better. Parm on top.

#25 gfweb

gfweb
  • participating member
  • 3,807 posts

Posted 26 March 2014 - 08:44 PM

Surprised no one's mentioned heavy cream. Just heavy cream, salt, and pepper. And if you have the strength to sauté a sliced mushroom or red pepper first, all the better. Parm on top.

with sauteed garlic and parm



#26 Beebs

Beebs
  • participating member
  • 704 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, BC, Canada

Posted 26 March 2014 - 09:29 PM

Anchovies, garlic & extra virgin olive oil.  A bit of crushed red pepper or parsley, if I'm feeling fancy.



#27 Okanagancook

Okanagancook
  • participating member
  • 321 posts
  • Location:Naramata overlooking Lake Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada

Posted 27 March 2014 - 08:59 AM

Some high quality canned or jarred baby clams is another possibility.

#28 SobaAddict70

SobaAddict70
  • legacy participant
  • 7,609 posts
  • Location:Hobbiton, the Shire

Posted 27 March 2014 - 10:31 AM

If you're able to get fresh clams, you can whip up spaghetti con vongole in minutes. Canned is okay but it's not quite the same.

Warm some olive oil in a pot, add a crushed garlic clove and an anchovy fillet. When the anchovy has disintegrated, add the clams and a glug of white wine. The traditional recipe omits the wine but I sometimes include it depending on feel. Cover the pot and turn it down to medium-low. Steam until the clams pop open. Discard any that don't. Strain the liquid in the pot and set the strained liquid aside.

Prepare your dried pasta (i.e., bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add your dried pasta and cook until al dente).

Transfer the clams to a bowl and shuck them, making sure to reserve the clam juices. You can chop them if you like, or leave them whole. Warm some olive oil in a pan. Add the clams, clam juices and the reserved liquid from when you steamed the clams. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add copious handfuls of chopped Italian parsley. Cook for 1-2 more minutes. Ideally your pasta should be done by now. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid. Add the cooked, drained pasta to the pan with the clams. Toss. If the pasta seems too dry, add a little pasta cooking liquid. How much depends on whether you like the sauce "brothy". Taste for salt and pepper, then serve at once.

If you're using canned clams, you could start by making a battuto of chopped garlic, olive oil and chopped Italian parsley. Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until it turns a pale gold, then add the parsley. Cook for 1 more minute, then add your chopped clams and clam juices. The sauce is done when the clams are heated through. Taste for salt and pepper, then combine with the pasta as directed above.

For some people, this entire procedure is a "production", but to me, it's pretty simple and takes about 40 minutes from beginning to end. Making bolognese is complicated by comparison. Depends on your point of view I suppose.

Edited by SobaAddict70, 27 March 2014 - 10:36 AM.

  • Okanagancook likes this

#29 rotuts

rotuts
  • participating member
  • 5,701 posts
  • Location:Boston MA

Posted 27 March 2014 - 10:44 AM

I never have heavy cream around.  You need a certain level of fat in the cream so it doesnt split if you use a bit of dry white wine (reduced) in

 

the sauce  which i do. I add other things from time to time, garlic basil etc  one thing there always is around here:  something dry w a cork.

 

Ive found that 'plain vanilla' goat cheese, the kind TJ's has, keeps for some time in the refrig.

 

i take about an inch off this log, mash it up w milk if I have it or just a little water to make a smooth fairly thick paste.

 

I use that instead of heavy cream  works fine.   it does have sour notes you may not care for.  Im partial to tart.

 

I love pasta w  a decent hint of creamy-ness.  peas, mushrooms go well here too.


Edited by rotuts, 27 March 2014 - 10:46 AM.


#30 SobaAddict70

SobaAddict70
  • legacy participant
  • 7,609 posts
  • Location:Hobbiton, the Shire

Posted 27 March 2014 - 12:04 PM

Almost forgot.

There's also olive oil, garlic, fried breadcrumbs and herbs.