No question, people should try their hand at making fresh pasta instead of always relying on purchasing it dry from a bag or box.
As for pasta sauces, the most common is the classic tomato sauce. Most people still buy canned or jarred pre-made tomato sauces to don their pasta. Some will at least get creative by adding extra ingredients like onions or garlic, but nothing can take the place of good rustic homemade batch of tomato sauce. This does not have to be the style that simmers for hours on end either. Many great homemade pasta sauces can start out with a little help from canned diced tomatoes and some tomato paste, and be done in record time. Reduce it down even further at the end (by simmering some of the water content out) and replenish with some whipping cream and you now have a rosÃ© sauce for those special occasions when calorie counting is not on your priority list.
Any ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, etc.) cooked up at the beginning of the process will magically transform this rustic tomato or rosÃ© sauce into a hearty meat sauce. Sausage meat can also be utilized in the same manner by removing it from the casings and cooking the same as ground meat. Italian sausage (mild or hot, depending on your tastes) is wonderful for this.
A bÃ©chamel (white sauce) is a very simple sauce. Don't let the fancy French culinary name scare you - it's just milk thickened with flour and butter. Add seasoning (salt, pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg) and you have an incredible sauce that can be a blank canvas for your favourite cheeses, to be melted in or tossed with bits of grilled chicken. Add garlic and parmesan and you will basically have alfredo sauce.
Oils infused with flavours and seasonings can be the base of a tasty, light pasta coating. Heating olive oil over medium or low heat, and letting ingredients like crushed garlic, chillies and herbs infuse their way in, transforms an ordinary oil into a savoury enhancement. These types of sauces are perfect for less filling side dishes.
A batch of seasoned simmered vegetables can also be transformed into a smooth sauce bursting with flavours, with the help of a blender, food processor or hand immersion blender. We actually do one with ground lamb where it is simmered with a number of vegetables and herbs with some red wine. A few good pulses in a blender, at the end of the cook time, alter it into an amazing pasta sauce.
One of the quickest pasta sauces you will ever make is a browned-butter sauce. Take a hot pan and place a handful of cubes of cold butter into it. Stir, or lift the pan and swirl the melting butter, until the butter foam has just started to brown, and then toss with your favorite pasta. Your favorite fresh delicate herb (basil, oregano, sage) can also be added at the time of the cold butter. Although we have all been taught never to add butter to a hot pan for fear that it will burn, the trick is to remove the "browning" butter before it hits the burning stage.
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