Another sunny Sunday in, and here are another seven pasta sauces for a whole week to keep you busy, dear friends, and fed! Ingredients are again for four people, but the sauces are all ideal for warming up the next day if you’ve got any leftovers.
By the way, there was a news item yesterday about a shortage of tinned tomatoes because everybody is starting to do pasta sauces at home now – well, actually it’s better to use FRESH tomatoes for tomato sauces, that’s how most housewives back in Italy do it, anyway!
Asparagus and broccoli sauce
250g asparagus, 250g broccoli, 300ml milk, 20g flour, 30g butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley, olive oil; 250-300g pasta, parmesan
Extremely healthy and extremely tasty, this Italian veggie classic is so simple and yet so ingenious: first, prepare a bechamel sauce by heating up the butter in a pot, then adding the flour while whisking rigorously, then slowly and carefully adding the milk. Turn down the heat, add salt, pepper, nutmeg and parsley and keep whisking until the sauce is consistent, then let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. (A tip: you can also get a ready mixture powder for a bechamel sauce from the supermarket and follow the instructions on the packet…)
Cut the broccoli into bite-sized chunks and fry together with the asparagus (fresh or from a tin) in oil for about 5 minutes; meanwhile, start cooking the pasta. Add the broccoli and asparagus to the bechamel sauce and stir well; serve the pasta in bowls with the sauce and – as always – some parmesan on top.
300g bacon (or ham), 200g mushrooms, 300ml milk, 20g flour, 30g butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley; 250-300g pasta, 200g grated cheese
Popular with both kids and grown-ups, this all-time classic is both very tasty and very nutritious. Again, prepare a bechamel sauce just like in the previous recipe (butter, flour and milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and parsley – or the ready mixture from the supermarket), but this time add sliced bacon (or ham, if you prefer it with less calories) and mushrooms (preferably from the tin). Simmer for 10-15 minutes while the pasta is cooking.
Top the pasta with the sauce and, while it’s still really hot, a generous amount of grated cheese of the sort that melts immediately (like cheddar, edam or gouda).
Beef and tomato sauce
500g cubed beef (or 1 small cut chicken), 1 onion, 2 tomatoes, 250g passata, allspice, cloves, salt, pepper, olive oil; 250-300g pasta, 200g grated cheese
This is a Greek Sunday favourite called ‘kokkinisto’ in Greece because of the very red sauce (kokkino means red). It’s basically a meaty variation of the classic pomodoro sauce (which you can look up in my previous sauce post), seasoned with the typically Greek ingredients allspice and cloves. If you can get those two whole dried, your kokkinisto will look and taste REALLY Greek! Tip: instead of beef you can also use a cut chicken – cheaper and maybe even more delicious…
Chop the onions and fry them in oil, then add the cubed beef (or the chicken). Chop the tomatoes and add them together with the passata and the spices. Now this one’s a slow cooking recipe, so you’ll have to calculate at least 2 hours of simmering (or 1 if you’re using chicken). You don’t really have to do anything during that time, though, except add some water and stir every 15-20 minutes! And yes, in case you’ve been following my previous recipes, it’s actually quite similar to a Hungarian goulash…
After about 1 ¾ hours (or 45 minutes if you’re doing chicken), start cooking the pasta. Keep stirring the sauce until the pasta is ready to serve, and top with a big handful of grated cheese!
500g mincemeat, 1 onion, 1 tomato, 250ml passata, salt, pepper, paprika, parsley, mint, olive oil; 250-300g pasta, parmesan or other grated cheese
Probably the most famous of all spaghetti sauces, this mincemeat sauce originated around Bologna and made its way literally around the whole world. It’s very easy to do, quick and cheap and tasty, and simply everybody loves it! So, chop the onion and fry with the mincemeat in oil, then chop the tomato and add it together with the passata and 50-100ml water; season with salt, pepper, paprika, parsley and a tsp of sugar. My personal tip is to add a dash or two of dried mint to give the sauce a special… something!
While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta; both should be ready after about 10-15 minutes. The classic way of topping spaghetti Bolognaise is, of course, parmesan, but you can also use any other sort of grated cheese that melts easily!
Courgette (or aubergine) sauce
4 courgettes (or aubergines), 1 tomato, 250ml passata, parsley, dill, salt, pepper, olive oil; 250-300g pasta, 200g grated cheese
This is a pasta sauce from Turkey for a change; the classic version is done with courgettes, but you can also use aubergines or a mix of both! Cube the vegetables and fry them in oil for 5 minutes, then chop and add the tomato, parsley and dill (both fresh if possible), salt and pepper and the passata and about 100ml water and simmer for 15 minutes; meanwhile, cook the pasta.
Serve with a big load of grated cheese on top – another great veggie favourite!
Crabmeat and ham sauce
250g crabmeat, 150g ham, 150g spring onions, 2-3 cloves garlic, 300ml milk (or cream), 100ml white wine, 20g flour, 30g butter, salt, pepper; 250-300g pasta (fettucine), parmesan (optional)
Now let’s move on to another part of the world and something really exotic – this is an old Cajun recipe from Louisiana that gives an entirely new kick to the old pasta… Tip: the favourite pasta sort of Cajun cooks is fettucine!
If you’ve ever done any Cajun recipes, you’ll know that they almost all start with the instruction: ‘cook a roux’… A roux is basically nothing else but the basis for a bechamel sauce, so like in our first two recipes here we heat up the butter and add the flour while whisking; then, when the roux has turned a nice golden brown colour, we add the sliced spring onions and the chopped garlic, the ham and the wine and salt and pepper, and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Only after that we add the milk (if you don’t mind the calories, you can also use cream) and the crabmeat and let it simmer for another 10 minutes while our pasta is cooking.
Serve with or without parmesan – and since you’ve already opened that bottle of white wine, you might just as well have the rest of it with your dinner…
Prawn and sausage sauce
250g prawns (cooked), 250g andouille (or other pork sausage), 1 tomato, 1 onion, 1 stem celery, 1 green bell pepper, 1 red chilli, 2 cloves of garlic, 250ml passata, ½ chicken stock cube, salt, pepper, Cayenne pepper, basil, olive oil; 250-300g pasta (fettucine), parmesan (optional)
Another exotic Cajun recipe with a most piquant taste of seafood and sausage, this sauce is much easier to do than it might seem at first considering the large number of ingredients. You start out by chopping/slicing the onion, the tomato, the celery, the chili, the bell pepper and the garlic; then you throw it all into a big pan with oil and fry it thoroughly. Slice the andouille and add it together with the passata, the stock cube, 200ml water, salt, pepper, Cayenne pepper and basil, and simmer for 15 minutes; meanwhile, cook the pasta.
Add the prawns, simmer on for another 2-3 minutes, and pour over the pasta. Now I confess that I’m of the Italian style conviction that parmesan goes with simply EVERYTHING from soup to meat and, of course, especially any sort of spaghetti sauce, but in this case it’s of course optional since the original Cajun recipe doesn’t mention any cheese. Still…
In any case, enjoy your cooking, dear friends, and don’t be afraid to bring in your own ideas, too! And if you have one connected to pasta sauces, please tell me; I’m always eager to learn new tricks in the kitchen…