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What's your favorite sauce for pasta?

I've lost my pasta mojo and can't seem to think of anything other than carbonara, marinara, pesto and alfredo. What are your favorite pasta sauces?

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  1. You have overlooked white wine/garlic/ OO with clams and other shellfish over linguini, or a fra diavolo.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      The clam sauce is a great idea. I kind of lump fra diavolo in with marinara, although not sure if that's accurate but I consider it a spicy marinara for categorical sake. Do you have a good clam sauce recipe?

      1. re: fldhkybnva

        I start with a sofrito of diced sweet peppers, sweet onions, and garlic with OO, then I add white wine and well-rinsed fresh clams to capture all the clam juice as they open. Usually I add mussels and shrimp but they don't contribute much to the liquid, just to the dish when it's done. White wine and OO in proportion to the size you are serving.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          I make a good one with buttermilk, leeks and canned chopped clams. I like to use shell-shaped pasta for the ambience.

          1. re: Sharuf

            Would you please supply your recipe, Sharuf. Sounds interesting and yummy.

            1. re: sagetom

              I don't actually have a recipe -- just wing it. I sauté chipped leeks, add buttermilk and the liquid from the clams, thicken it with cornstarch, and then add the clams at the last moment.

              1. re: Sharuf

                I gotta tell ya, though originally from the South, I'm just not seeing buttermilk with clams. But I trust you.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I use buttermilk a lot in cooking and for sauces. For me, it makes a good substitute for cream or sour cream.

        2. re: Veggo

          You sure know what's good, Veggo. Both dishes are the only way to go for me.

        3. brown butter, black pepper, chopped parsley and parmesan

          2 Replies
            1. re: carluccio

              I was going to suggest the same thing! Simple, but oh so good!

            2. Puttanesca. Vodka. Any variant on butter but fresh sage brown butter on ravioli being my favorite of the butter sauces. I also make extreme short cut sauces with a mince of leftover meats (love steak and pork roast) with soffrito, tomato, toasted nutmeg and fennel, black pepper, wine, and cream. Bolognese with home made pappardelle might be my favorite meal.

              1. I like a light red sauce that incorporates bacon, white wine, garlic, Italian parsley and diced portabella, preferably over capellini.

                1. Bolognese is my favorite, but I love a good pasta all'amatriciana (a slightly spicy tomato sauce with onions and bacon/pancetta/guanciale) or any butter/cheese based sauce. Rich braised meats make great sauces too - basically any classic braise, meat shredded into the sauce, can be used as a pasta sauce.

                  I made a vaguely Asian pasta dish that used canned pumpkin and peanut butter for the sauce - it was quite good. Pretty much any pureed vegetable would work - you could try a pureed eggplant sauce, pureed fennel, etc.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: biondanonima

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Deq99W...
                    I think Heston can be 'over the top' sometimes but there are a few tips he shares that REALLY elevate this dish. He uses a little star anise for instance. His explanation why is excellent. I have know added barely a pinch of star anise to any beef dish. When I'm cooking steaks for instance I put a whole star anise in the pan for just a few seconds then remove it. There's something magic in that spice when it's used VERY sparingly.

                    1. re: biondanonima

                      The Eggplant-Pepper-Tomato Sauce in the Chow recipes is pretty darn good! (Works over potatoes, sausage, etc. too.)