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Dec 21, 2006 12:41 PM

sauce for fresh pasta?

My husband has decided he wants to make fresh pasta for Christmas, and I'm in charge of the sauce. He hasn't decided, but I think he'll make a basic linguine.

Any suggestions for sauces? I'm thinking of making possibly two, one red, and one, uh, not. I'd love ideas, as I don't think I'll have time to get to the library to check out recipes beforehand! We cook often, but tend towards more spice based cuisines (Indian, Mexican, Thai, etc.) so I'm eager for sugggestions!

Many, many thanks!!


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  1. This is a great spicy sauce, we love it.


    The pasta and sauce cook in just about the same amount of time. If you like the fruitiness of extra-virgin olive oil, toss 1 tablespoon into the sauced pasta before serving.

    3 medium cloves garlic, minced to paste or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
    1 pound spaghetti
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/4 to 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
    4 teaspoons minced anchovies (about 8 fillets)
    1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, 1/2 cup juice reserved
    3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
    1/2 cup black olives (such as gaeta, alfonso, or kalamata), pitted and chopped coarse
    1⁄4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

    1. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in large pot. Meanwhile, mix garlic with 1 tablespoon water in small bowl; set aside. When water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta; stir to separate noodles. Immediately heat oil, garlic mixture, hot red pepper flakes, and anchovies in large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes.

    2. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, then return pasta to pot. Add 1/4 cup reserved tomato juice and toss to combine.

    3. Stir capers, olives, and parsley into sauce. Pour sauce over pasta and toss to combine, adding more tomato juice to moisten if necessary. Adjust seasonings with salt to taste and serve immediately. Serves 4.

    Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated Magazine

    2 Replies
    1. re: mcel215

      One note: while dried pasta will cook in about the same amount of time as the sauce, fresh pasta will probably take about 2-3 minutes.

      Two ideas for a non-tomato sauce: a simple pesto, or a carbonara. Unless you really like garlic, the pesto along with the puttanesca might be too much of a good thing. The carbonara sauce would be more of a contrast.

      1. re: mcel215

        This sounds fantastic, I'll definitely give this recpie a try!

      2. I would do a hearty meat sauce: Brown hot and sweet Italian sausages and a pork chop or two in olive oil in a big pot. Once nicely browned, add garlic, let that get golden, then add canned tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley. Let cook down for at least 2-3 hours, preferably longer, till pork falls apart (make sure to fish out bones).

        You could also make some meatballs to cook in the sauce. Mix ground beef with bread crumbs, romano cheese, egg, parsley, salt, pepper, and some crushed garlic. Add a spoonful or two of the sauce. Roll into balls and drop carefully into the sauce. Cook at least 20 minutes.

        When ready to serve, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat to a separate bowl. Mix cooked pasta with the sauce. Pass around bowls of meat and extra sauce at the table.

        1. If you're going to the trouble to make the pasta, it should be the center of your dish. Is this a pasta course, or the main part of the meal? Either way, the freshest/best ingredients you can find. I'd go with something light like a cream sauce with a touch of tomato (Muir Glen fire-roasted diced tomatoes are great, whisk them thru the blender or food processor for a sec) - saute a little garlic in EVOO (low temp it burns quick), add the tomatoes, a little white wine, let it simmer a few minutes then add cream, light or heavy it's up to you, heat through & serve; a pinch of nutmeg at the end is nice. You could add a little fresh prosciutto here, or spinach, simmer a few minutes to wilt. For a bigger course, saute some fresh seafood (shrimp, scallops) & add with the cream, skip the nutmeg, maybe add a little grated lemon peel. Without seafood, serve & pass fresh grated parmiggiano; with seafood forget the cheese. Don't forget fresh pasta will cook in probably less than 5 minutes. Enjoy!

          1 Reply
          1. re: bkath

            'saute a little garlic in EVOO (low temp it burns quick)'

            I started buying bags of peeled garlic cloves at the local farmer's market and then throwing it in the freezer. Much more leeway with burning. Of course you can't really slice it when it's frozen, I use once of those nut choppers that you pound the top of and the blades chop ot up nice.

          2. I agree with the comment that the pasta should be the star. When I make fresh pastas, my favorite sauces are light - alfredo or pesto, or simple variations, are always good. Serve the pasta as they do in Italy, light on the sauce, and your husband's pasta will get the attention it deserves.

            1. You know sljones, these days, more often than a red sauce I love aglio-olio and it goes reallllly well on nice fresh flat linguini. For a pound of pasta, use a 1/3 cup of olive oil, 4 garlic cloves (or 5, or 6, or...) crushed, (ideally freshly ground) sea salt and black pepper, a few shakes of red pepper flakes and some fresh parsley, diced fine. In a frying pan, you saute the garlic in the oil just a bit, add the seasonings (except parsley), add the linguini to the aglio olio, toss it a bit, and serve sprinkled with parsley and the freshly grated cheese of your choice (Parmesan? Romano?) SOOO Good.

              Or, as MFK Fisher wrote, nobody ever complained when I served pasta tossed with fresh butter, salt and pepper. But I vote for aglio olio.