Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Types of Pasta Sauces

I always enjoy prepare pasta for my family. Pasta can serve with a variety of different sauces. The taste of pasta often determine by quality or types of sauces you served. When selecting a sauce, consider the shape and size of the pasta noodle, since some sauces are best suited for specific types of pasta. Pasta is the generic Italian name for many noodle-like pastes or dough’s that are made in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. There are far too many different kinds than can be counted.  The two main types are fresh pasta, or pasta fresca, and dried pasta, or pasta secca. The main secret ingredients for sauces are fresh culinary herbs. Never substitute with dried herbs unless you couldn’t find it. Fresh ingredients make lots of different in your preparations. Basically there are four types flavored and textured based sauces – Cream-based, Tomato-based, Wine-bases and a traditional No-cook pasta sauce pesto.

Cream-based sauces are the richest types of pasta sauces because they usually contain heavy cream, along with butter, cheese or both. One basic cream-based pasta sauce is Alfredo, a mixture of heavy cream, Parmesan cheese and butter. Alfredo pasta dishes may be topped with vegetables, chicken or shrimp. Thicker noodles like penne or fettuccine can hold onto Alfredo sauces most successfully.
Carbonara, another cream-based sauce is similar to Alfredo sauce, but it also incorporates beaten eggs. This sauce is typically paired with spaghetti and topped with bacon or pancetta.

Tomatoes are the key ingredient in many pasta sauces and are a staple ingredient in Italian cuisine because they can be paired with most types of pasta. A traditional tomato-based pasta sauce is known as marinara sauce. Crushed or diced tomatoes are combined with chopped garlic, onions, peppers or other ingredients and simmered until they reach a saucy consistency. Add crushed red pepper flakes or chopped chili peppers to make Arrabbiata, a spicy version of the sauce. Mix in chunks of cooked meat for a Bolognese sauce. A splash of heavy cream and vodka turns a marinara sauce into vodka sauce. 

Wine as the base for a pasta sauce can add a sweet yet light undertone to the dish. The wine in pasta sauces is typically combined with another liquid ingredient to balance out the flavor and texture of the dish. A common wine-based pasta sauce uses Marsala, a fortified sweet Spanish wine, combined with richer ingredients like heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Another common wine-based pasta sauce uses Madeira, a South American dessert wine, along with broth to mellow out the flavor and add a savory taste. Thinner pastas complement wine-based pasta sauces, which have a lighter texture than other sauce types. 

Some pasta sauces don't require cooking because the heat from the freshly boiled pasta is enough to soften the ingredients and enhance their flavors. One traditional pasta sauce that does not need to be cooked is pesto, a blended mixture of fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic Parmesan cheese and olive oil. You can vary pestos by substituting almonds or other nuts for the pine nuts or adding other ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes.

Add a mixture of chopped fresh tomatoes, black olives and capers to the pasta and its heat will help the ingredients release their natural juices and form a light sauce.

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